MSD and AC Health collaborate to make cancer care less burdensome for Filipino patients

MSD and AC Health collaborate to make cancer care less burdensome for Filipino patients

/ 12:35 PM December 11, 2023

Leading pharmaceutical company MSD in the Philippines and Healthway Medical Network (HMN), the hospital and clinics arm of Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (AC Health), have inked an agreement to make cancer products and services more available, accessible, and affordable to Filipino patients in need.

In the Philippines, cancer has consistently ranked among the top three leading causes of death. The disease places an immense burden on patients and their families, with treatment cost reaching over Php1 million, in certain cases.

Under the new memorandum of agreement, MSD together with AC Health and HMN will develop a private sector model that will elevate cancer care while improving patient financing and reimbursement coverage for vaccines, medications, diagnosis,treatment, and innovative therapies.

MSD and AC Health cancer

“We are committed to step up our efforts to make the best-in-class vaccines and also the best-in-class cancer treatments more accessible to more Filipino patients,” said MSD Philippines President and Managing Director Andreas Riedel. “Together, we can address the gaps in cancer care here in the Philippines, guided by our purpose of using the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives.”

MSD and AC Health-HMN will also conduct education campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy in the context of cancer prevention; enhance healthcare professionals’ capability in patient management and complement government efforts to advocate for health promotion and education in the workplace, with the aim of shaping workplace policies to contribute to the prevention and management of priority cancers. This includes cervical cancer, which ranks as the second most diagnosedcancer among Filipino women and causes 11 deaths daily—despite being curable if detected early and preventable via HPV vaccination.

MSD and AC Health cancer

“This collaboration really is an enormous milestone for the people of the Philippines. We all know the scourge that cancer is. We all know the statistics in terms of the unnecessary deaths that occur. Oftentimes that is because people cannot get to the high-quality care they need,” Riedel adds. “We have a shared purpose in terms of providing health, providing more days for people with their families. We are here because we also have a combined mission that hopefully one day we will get to a cure.”

The memorandum of agreement was signed on 23 November 2023, at the new Healthway Cancer Care Hospital, on the eve of its inauguration. Company executives and guests had the opportunity to take a tour of the first dedicated cancer specialty hospital in the Philippines, built to be patient-centric and deliver a complete range of cancer services, from screening, diagnosis, and treatment to post-cancer care.

“The Healthway Cancer Care Hospital was built with a deep understanding of our patients’ needs. We engaged in extensive consultations with families and survivors to shape a facility that truly caters to them,” shared AC Health President and CEO, Paolo Borromeo. “Our focus extends beyond delivering world-class cancer care; we are equally committed to ensuring value and affordability. Collaborating with partners like MSD enables us to deliver better and more affordable care to more Filipinos.

Healthway Philippines, Inc. President and CEO Jaime Ysmael, for his part, described the collaboration as being synergistic in “leveraging expertise, resources, and innovation to enhance the capabilities of healthcare professionals within the Healthway network, and empowering them to deliver holistic, high-quality, and affordable cancer services.”

“This collaboration embodies the essence of our theme: together for health. It encapsulates a shared journey, a unified endeavor, towards creating more hopeful tomorrows for every Filipino patient battling cancer. The future we envision is not just about treatments, it’s about holistic end-to-end care that uplifts lives, instills hope, and stands as a beacon of resilience against cancer, consistent with our brand promise of care beyond cure,” said Mr. Ysmael.

This message has resonated with Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO) President Karen Alparce-Villanueva, who witnessed the ceremonial signing and expressed her appreciation that MSD and AC Health-HMN have focused onenhancing patient experience.

“We welcome an approach to cancer care delivery that goes beyond medical treatments, but also considers nutrition care,psycho-social support, and the mental well-being of the patient. We also welcome a feedback mechanism that adheres to the motto ‘nothing about us, without us,’ and relies on the principle of participation,” said Ms. Alparce-Villanueva.

PAPO comprises 52 patient organizations advocating for patient rights, universal healthcare, and patient participation in policymaking. Ms. Alparce-Villanueva said that the coalition is willing to work together with MSD, AC Health, and HMN to develop programs to improve the health-seeking behavior of patients, and affordable payment schemes that will allow for more cycles of treatment.

MSD and AC Health cancer

“Out-of-pocket expenses for cancer care are really high, even for patients who belong to the middle-class—you can probably afford the cure, but post-treatment, survivorship and even palliative care, there will still be medicines, diagnostics and other therapies. And so I am thrilled to learn that the Healthway Cancer Care Hospital includes in its brand promise more affordable cancer care and treatment. Innovation will be meaningless without access by patients.”

Representing MSD were: MSD Director of Oncology Allan Marx Ancheta; MSD Business Unit Director for Vaccines Ethel Almeda-Calma; MSD Director of Market Access and Corporate Affairs Karlo Paredes; and MSD Country Medical Affairs Lead Mary Ann Galang-Escalona, MD.

Representing AC Health and HMN were: AC Health Chief Finance Officer Ruby Chiong; Healthway Group COO Margaret Bengzon; Healthway Cancer Care Hospital COO Nona Ong; Healthway Cancer Care Hospital Director Manuel Francisco Roxas, MD; and AC Health Corporate Strategy and Development Manager Kathleen Recto, MD.


TAGS: BrandRoom, Cancer Patients, MSD, MSD in the Philippines

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