Access to Groundbreaking Healthcare Advances in the country, center the Forum attended by PH Legislators, Healthcare Ecosystem Partners

To achieve the shared vision of each person with access to innovative diagnosis and treatment whether they are city executives or farmers in provinces.”

This was the key message of the recently held Healthcare Innovation Access Forum: Bringing Groundbreaking Advances Within Reach at The Manila Hotel which was participated by some Philippine Legislators, different Healthcare Ecosystem Partners and stakeholders. The forum was initiated by Roche (Philippines) Incorporated.

The said event was part of the 2-day visit of Roche Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Global Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. William N. (Bill) Anderson, which aims to better understand the health and related-industry situation in the Philippines as well as to have an exchange of ideas and sharing of current projects of the company with country leaders and healthcare ecosystem stakeholders.

Bill Anderson talking at the podium

In his talk, Mr. Anderson pointed out that the passing of Universal Healthcare (UHC) Law, the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) and recently, the guidelines for Reliance Pathway, has brought a beacon of hope in the healthcare system in the Philippines. He emphasized that these policies will provide for early access and financial support to patients to avail of innovative care that will give aspiration, gratitude and fuller lives to patients and their families.

He assured everyone that Roche is committed to helping improve access to healthcare innovations with our Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) goal of doubling the number of patients in LMIC with access to Roche innovative care. Working proof of concepts which include the Mission Leapfrog, Project Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO), Roche Access Program (RAP), Project BrIDGE or Breast cancer Integrated Disease solutions in a Guideline-driven Ecosystem, Integrated CAre Network for Lung Cancer (I CAN For Lung Cancer) etc, are impactful partnerships that require stakeholders working together to achieve the shared vision of each person with access to innovative diagnosis and treatment whether they are city executives or farmers in provinces.

The aforesaid event was participated in by Dr. Maria Francia M. Laxamana, Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary; Dr. Sunil Anand, Executive Director of ECHO India; Mr. Dante Torres, Former Mayor of Guagua, Pampanga;

Dr. RJ Suguitan, Municipal Health Officer of Samal, Bataan; Dr. Corazon Ngelangel, Member of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act or NICCA Council, President of the Philippine Cancer Society, Member and Past President of the Philippine Society for Medical Oncology; Mr. Teodoro Padilla, Executive Director, Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP); Ms. Karen Alparce-Villanueva, President of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO); Atty. Mika Sollano and Atty. Cyril Santiago, Representatives from the Office of Sen. Bong Go; and Mr. Alvin Manalansan and Mr. Orlando Oxales, Convenors of the Citizens Watch Philippines.

Everyone agrees that a timely and sustainable ACCESS to INNOVATIVE diagnostics and treatment is one of the key components lacking in the Philippine healthcare system that we all want to address. The first big step to achieve this goal is the inclusion of these innovative treatments in the Philippine National Formulary (PNF) and for the government to allocate appropriate funding and support for these innovations. These innovations can save lives, and these innovations mean nothing without timely and sustainable access for the Filipino patients.

Current innovative treatments already proved that cancer is not a death sentence. Even metastatic cancer patients can now survive longer with better quality of life. Atty. Benjamin Seguior Benji is one the best examples of patients who exceeded his life expectancy after being diagnosed with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. With the help of these innovative cancer treatments, Benji is living happily with his family, a true story of strength and hope for liver cancer and cancer patients. More of his story can be viewed in the Strong for Someone Page* (for patients), released last February 2022 during the National Cancer Awareness and World Cancer Day.

Anderson visited the Philippine General Hospital (PGH)

Courtesy Meeting of Bill Anderson & Roche (Philippines) Inc. ET at the PGH

Earlier on July 4, 2022, Anderson had a short introductory meeting with the Department Heads of the UP-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) namely, Dr. Jorge Ignacio, Cancer Institute Director; Dr. Teresita Castillo, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Director; Dr. Eric Jason Amante, Coordinator for Service and Advocacies, PGH Department of Rheumatology; and Dr. Romulo Aguilar, Vitreoretina Division (immediate past) Chief, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. After the meeting, Anderson visited the Cancer and Ophthalmology Wards of the aforesaid medical institution.

Bill Anderson walking along the CI & Ophtha Wards of PGH

Roche is one with PGH in driving timely and accessible innovative diagnostics and treatment that will help improve survival and quality of life of cancer patients, a partner who shares the passion and curiosity for science, research and innovation with PGH and supports initiatives and programs for continuous medical education to help our HCPs improve and upgrade their skills and knowledge in cancer management.

Anderson and Roche PH Enabling Team (ET) discussed plans to Senator JV Ejercito

Courtesy Meeting of Bill Anderson & Roche (Philippines) Inc. ET with Senator JV Ejercito

At 11:00AM of July 4, 2022, Anderson, together with Roche (Philippines), Inc Enabling Team (ET) headed by its General Manager, Dra. Diana Edralin, Country Medical Director & National Ecosystem Lead, Dra. Ma. Teresa Dioko and Healthcare Ecosystem Chapter Lead, Ms. Sheryl Enriquez, have met with the Principal Author of the Universal Healthcare (UHC) Law, Senator-elect Honorable Joseph Victor (JV) Ejercito.

It can be recalled that Senator Ejercito’s commitment to improve the health care system has led to the passage of important measures. Aside from working on significant health proposals, he also sees to it that he regularly visits government hospitals to assess its facilities, and monitor their improvement.

The UHC Law aims to provide quality, accessible and efficient health services to Filipinos among others. To guarantee access to health services, every Filipino will be automatically included into the National Health Insurance Program.

During the quick meeting, Senator Ejercito acknowledged cancer as a priority issue for healthcare that should be addressed by the senate by providing more access funds for cancer treatments, inclusion of innovative treatments and diagnostics to the national formulare, and more infrastructure for cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Overall, the forum has generated significant outcomes. It drew a commitment from policy makers to give teeth to the UHC and NICCA laws and accelerate its implementation. A proper venue on health issues that Roche is trying to help solve has been established where attention of policy makers and the general public has called for. Moreover, this groundbreaking activity has increased awareness and curiosity on these initiatives among the target partners, increased confidence and commitment among existing partners to work with Roche towards achieving the shared vision.