|Launch of the Healthy Hearts, Healthy Aging Asia-Pacific Report at Innovfest Unbound 2019: (left to right) Professor Tan Huay Cheem, director of National University Heart Centre Singapore; Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and Ministry of Health; Associate Professor Angelique Chan, executive director of the Centre for Ageing, Research & Education, Duke-NUS Medical School; Dr Kenneth Sim, country medical director, Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei, Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division; Kelvin Tan, director (Corporate Partnerships), NUS Enterprise; and Ernst Coppens, managing director and chief financial officer, Bayer ASEAN|
Bayer, in partnership with NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), today launched the Healthy Hearts, Healthy Aging Asia-Pacific Report at Innovfest Unbound 2019. The report examines the cardiovascular (CV) health imperatives aligned with population aging in the Asia-Pacific, and highlights the important shift in the region’s health systems from a traditional acute care model to one with an increased focus on preventive, value-based care.
In embracing this transformation, the report calls for specific policy actions in the three broad areas of education, innovation, and collaboration, and particularly for the collaboration of all stakeholders involved to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative medicines and technologies in the prevention, treatment, and care of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The launch of the report was officiated by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, and Ministry of Health.
Responsible for over 17 million deaths worldwide annually, with half of them occurring in Asia, CVDs are a key area of high unmet medical need. While medical advances have significantly reduced death rates due to major CV events such as strokes and heart attacks, the broader challenges of coping with their related disabilities, frequent hospitalisation, and intensive long-term care remain for many survivors of these events.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and other related conditions are the cause of 2.2 million cases of hospitalisation in the United States in 2016, resulting in a cost of $32.7 billion. Beyond direct healthcare costs, it was projected that CVDs will be responsible for $15.6 trillion worth of lost economic output globally between 2011 and 2030, as it can cause both those affected and their caregivers to miss work or drop out of the workforce altogether.
“Innovations in medicine and technology have resulted in remarkable improvements in the management of cardiovascular diseases over the last few decades. In the face of an aging population, we require a new era of innovation focused on preventing disease progression and providing better care to help patients and societies cope with the disease burden,” said Dr Kenneth Sim, country medical director, Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei.
“Whilst Bayer is committed to developing innovative solutions for CVD patients and their caregivers to improve their quality of life, we hope that the insights gathered through the fruits of our partnership with NUS Enterprise will inspire a wide range of public and private stakeholders to support health system sustainability by embracing health innovations to prevent the serious effects of cardiovascular diseases.”
Across the Asia-Pacific region, socio-economic, geographic, demographic, and ethnographic differences create unique challenges for each country when dealing with the growing impact of CVD and aging. Experts in CVD and health policy from across eight markets (Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines) were consulted for the report to:
1) establish the current and predicted future burden of CVDs on the region’s health systems;
2) examine the role of health innovation in addressing the unmet needs in CVD prevention and care; and
3) gather recommendations on how different stakeholders (healthcare experts, policymakers, innovators, academia, non-governmental organisations, and corporations) can collaborate to enhance the adoption of health innovation in the long-term preventive care of CVD patients.
|A multi-stakeholder dialogue organised to mark the launch of the Healthy Hearts, Healthy Aging Asia-Pacific Report at Innovfest Unbound 2019|
Four broad areas of need
Four key areas of need were identified for policymakers to focus on, in order to address the challenges of population aging and rising CVD rates in the region. They include:
1) The need for health systems to shift from a traditional acute care model to one with an increased focus on preventive, value-based care. This includes earlier detection and better management of patients at risk of developing CVDs and its related complications at the community level.
2) The need to improve the education of the public, primary care physicians, patients, and policymakers to achieve optimal control of CVD risks.
3) The need for speedier adoption and greater access to innovative therapies and technologies to improve patient outcomes, particularly for the prevention of serious CV incidents such as strokes and heart attacks.
4) The need for data in understanding the current disease burden and planning for the future. One area in particular where a shortage was noted was for local, regional, and ethnic-specific data from drug trials, which would make it easier to demonstrate the relevance of novel therapies to particular populations. As health systems focus on value-based care, there is a need for more socio-economic data to support the cost-effectiveness of new innovations.
“To address the mounting challenges with population aging, it is imperative for health systems to shift from a traditional acute care model to one which focuses on maintaining health and keeping people out of the hospital. Care for elderly CVD patients must be integrated into communities and the home to support better adherence to preventive lifestyle measures and medical therapies which are geared towards the prevention of disability-causing major cardiovascular events such as strokes and heart attacks. Health systems must also embrace innovations across the ecosystem of medicines, technology, and elderly care to support this transformation,” said Associate Professor Angelique Chan, executive director of the Centre for Ageing Research and Education at Duke-NUS Medical School, who is a key contributor to the report.
Calling for specific policy actions in three key areas
The report calls for action in three areas:
Education: Meaningful policy action on CVDs must promote awareness and education of the general public, patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals on the importance of implementing optimal preventive strategies for managing chronic CVDs. This will reduce the risk of disease progression and serious disability-causing events such as strokes and heart attacks.
Innovation: Policy-makers must recognise the value of innovative therapies and technologies in alleviating the burden of disease management in health systems, as many of them are supported by scientific evidence and treatment guidelines which show improved outcomes in enabling aging populations to maintain independence and manage their chronic CVDs. In case existing disease management strategies have proven sub-optimal, policymakers should be open to considering incremental stepwise adoption of innovative therapies and technologies.
Collaboration: The optimal management of chronic CVDs and their serious events will require policies and platforms that engage a wide range of actors, including government agencies, health systems, the private sector, non-profits, multilateral organisations, and advocacy groups.
On the one hand, public-private partnerships among policymakers, academia, startups, entrepreneurs, and the industry are the drivers for the development of novel medications and groundbreaking technologies. On the other hand, the region’s governments and healthcare systems play a crucial role in developing policies that can keep pace with innovation, enabling the speedier approval of new therapies and technologies, and ensuring timely access and adoption.
These recommendations embrace and build upon the World Health Organization’s global strategic plan to realign health systems with the needs of elder populations, with a special focus on the management of chronic diseases and supporting related innovations. The latest report from the Global Coalition of Aging also highlights investing in CV health innovation as a major step towards healthy aging.
“Multi-stakeholder collaboration is key to improving the development and uptake of new innovations which will in turn lead to better patient outcomes, while keeping health systems sustainable. We hope that the report will serve as a major call to action for policymakers and inspire a wide range of public and private stakeholders to work together an embrace health innovations to enhance outcomes for seniors living with CVD,” said Professor Freddy Boey, NUS deputy president (Innovation & Enterprise).
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