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Creating meaningful partnerships to alleviate the global burden of epilepsy

Simon Borghs, Global Epilepsy Strategy
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Simon Borghs, Global Epilepsy Strategy
Epilepsy is an age-old disease that affects people around the globe. Over the last 100 years, huge steps have been taken in managing it, and many people with epilepsy are now free of seizures. In the last 30 years, UCB has played an important role in improving treatments, becoming the leader in epilepsy innovation among pharmaceutical companies.

Despite this significant evolution in care, there is still an opportunity to alleviate the global burden of epilepsy. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), 40 million people have epilepsy and 75% of these people do not get the treatment they need to manage their seizures. We must find new social business approaches that will allow us to enable easier access to epilepsy care via partnership models, and provide affordable treatments to underserved epilepsy patients. In 2021, we will launch a social business pilot in India; pilots in other high unmet need countries will follow.

Even in affluent countries, people with epilepsy are often underserved and may face barriers to access the medicine they need. Solving their barriers to access in a way that is viable for patients, society and UCB, will require tackling a combination of economic, technological, scientific, and systemic challenges.

At UCB, we are convinced that meaningful change in how we address these challenges requires collaboration across areas of expertise and stakeholder types. New care delivery models, and new ways of assessing value, need to be built. We are keen on sharing our connections, knowledge, data and experience, and partnering with key players in- and outside the healthcare system in areas where they have legitimacy and agency.

One example of a partnership in LMICs that aims to strengthen the healthcare system in a country with a uniquely high disease burden is between University of Ghent and the government of Rwanda, supported by the UCB CSR Fund, that aims to establish a medical curriculum at university level that will allow to train and build a sustainable pipeline of qualified neurologists. This will allow people living with epilepsy in Rwanda to have access to better healthcare.

In mature healthcare systems, UCB is exploring partnerships to reduce risk in the system. This will involve co-creating evidence to target the right patients and demonstrate the value of our treatments; collaborating with payers on value based contracts; and identifying and resolving structural access barriers where possible. In addition, for many years, UCB has collaborated with hospitals and academic centres on research projects that aim to improve care pathways and outcomes for epilepsy patients, and with patient organizations to arrange support; new activities aimed at underserved patients will be an extension of that.

Through our history and leadership, UCB is uniquely positioned to create meaningful and sustained value and therefore help build a better future for people living with epilepsy. Over the last 30 years, we have built connections, experience, data and knowledge that we can share with external partners. Going forward, given our position as a trusted partner in epilepsy, UCB can contribute to meaningful transformation of outcomes in epilepsy through a sustainable business approach.

For more information on UCB’s sustainability approach, visit: https://www.ucb.com/our-company/Sustainability 

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