Medicine Beyond Pills: AbbVie Invests in the Future of HealthBy Miriam Bello | Tue, 11/16/2021 - 08:43
Q: What are AbbVie’s R&D priorities, considering Mexico’s epidemiological profile?
A: As a company that strives to make a remarkable impact in patients’ lives and aligned to our purpose, autoimmune and chronic degenerative diseases continue to be our core areas in Mexico and the world. However, besides immunology or rheumatology, we also provide treatment options in dermatology, hematology and gastroenterology. With the acquisition of Allergan last year, we also added important therapeutic areas to our portfolio such as eyecare, neuroscience and the aesthetic medicine division.
During the past two years, AbbVie invested approximately US$5 billion in R&D globally. During the past four years, in Mexico, we positively impacted over 4,500 patients who participated in over 180 clinical studies in the country. Today, we have over 80 researchers working in more than 100 research centers across the country, which, of course, is an impressive focal point to launch Mexico as a leading country for research in Latin America and the world as well.
Q: How is AbbVie collaborating with the Mexican College of Rheumatology to introduce its treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?
A: This new medication falls into a new therapeutic class, which examines long-term diseases. The integral solutions that we are trying to bring into the country go beyond this medication for rheumatoid arthritis, so collaborations with institutes such as the Mexican College of Rheumatology, medical societies and patients are significant. Collaboration is an essential part of our culture. Today more than ever, the generation of alliances and collaborations with different actors in the health sector will allow us to improve the conditions of the health system to benefit more and more patients, health professionals, health institutions, and thus make it sustainable and for all. That is one of the many reasons we bet to create spaces to educate future medical professionals by providing a space for telemedicine and continuous medical education. We can develop courses endorsed by the different academies, colleges, and societies that keep doctors informed about the various treatments arriving in Mexico. We are constantly collaborating to be more than observers. Our goal is to understand the needs of medical professionals to create appropriate academic programs.
Many of those affiliated with medical associations and colleges have been primary researchers who have participated in several clinical studies. For example, we perform a clinical program that includes five pivotal studies and over 460 patients in Mexico.
Q: What is the status of AbbVie’s treatment for psoriasis?
A: Our psoriasis medicine has also been approved in Mexico. It treats moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and helps more patients go into remission. AbbVie is committed to bringing the Mexican population innovative medications that could impact their lives and improve their quality of life.
Q: How are AbbVie’s medical training programs making a difference among doctors and patients?
A: At AbbVie, we put the patient at the center of everything we do. For this reason, we constantly seek the best idea to generate innovative health solutions that seek to make a remarkable impact and create synergies with health experts, institutions, universities, and colleges. We launched two great programs for continuous medical education: Digital Boost and Health Future Experts. We are also creating educational programs to enhance the use of telemedicine, digital prescriptions, legal aspects, and regulation.
These two platforms are already available. We hope many doctors join these programs so they can identify the needs not covered by regular educational programs and see that medicine is more than just a pill. The courses are completely free and available to residents in all specialties, but they focus on hematology, immunology areas like dermatology, rheumatology and gastroenterology, also important therapeutic areas like neuroscience and eyecare were considered.
Q: What type of training do doctors need to remain competitive and integrate this new ecosystem?
A: A 2020 study surveyed 3,000 young doctors in the 15 countries that allegedly have the best health systems to find their perceived skill gaps and the abilities in which they wanted training. These included those not covered in basic training or specialization, such as artificial intelligence, algorithms for smart treatments and pharmacoeconomic models. Doctors need to be informed to make decisions that truly benefit the patient. Mexicans need to perform a similar study to identify the needs of future doctors to have a first-class health system and education. Science and innovation are our core, so we are more than delighted to trigger many actions that benefit our healthcare professionals.
Q: What is the role of pharmacoeconomics in introducing new drugs in Mexico?
A: Pharmacoeconomics helps health professionals make better decisions. It is a fundamental tool to ensure that institutions and hospitals make the best possible decisions when selecting a therapy by considering the benefits and costs of new treatments. This model focuses on fewer but more impactful interventions. This changes medical provision from a “fit for service” model, used in some countries like the US, to a decision-based model that considers the value of medicine and interventions.
Many decision-makers in hospitals are not doctors but specialists in pharmacoeconomics and health economics, so it is key for young doctors to understand the subject. The education of future decision-makers will be key in ensuring a better health system, so it is imperative that they have the right education and tools to remain informed.
Q: How can Mexican hospitals use technology to improve patient outcomes?
A: The Mexican health system should focus on making its systems interoperable. Many health institutions have their own electronic databases of patients. All these systems can merge through interoperability making that information available to researchers, doctors, and other decision-makers. Interoperability is fundamental to the future of medicine because it will facilitate big data and bring all information together in a single system.
Virtual reality, telemedicine and smart algorithms will be fundamental, so future doctors should be trained on these topics. Our two platforms for continuous medical education address these themes to ensure that our future doctors have the necessary competencies and abilities.
Q: How will AbbVie contribute to the management of chronic diseases in Mexico?
A: We need to focus on the most important factor: the patient. AbbVie is a biopharmaceutical company that genuinely invests in R&D and brings state-of-the art therapies to improve the lives of patients. We collaborate with medical associations, health professionals and the government to meet the needs of the patient and grant them access to top-level medicine that can be found in any developed country. We will continue investing and bringing these medications to Mexico.
AbbVie is a research-oriented biopharmaceutical company. Through R&D, it tackles complex diseases and specializes in immunology, oncology, neuroscience, virology and eye care.