Position on Access to Health
Advances continue to be made in technology and medicine that address unmet medical needs. However, there still remain barriers for many people who have difficulty accessing the healthcare they need due to the lack of available treatments, poverty, healthcare system challenges and insufficient healthcare information.
Astellas' raison d'être is to contribute toward improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceuticals products. Guided by this corporate philosophy, our main efforts to expand Access to Health lie in discovering, developing and providing innovative medicines for patients. Astellas also works to advance Access to Health by engaging in initiatives in areas where improvements are needed for healthcare. To improve Access to Health, Astellas has identified four areas where we can leverage our strengths, technologies and expertise to contribute to better global health. These areas are “creating innovation”, “enhancing availability”, “strengthening healthcare system” and “improving health literacy”.
Initiatives which contribute to improve global health will help facilitate Access to Health. At the same time, we believe that these initiatives will lead to enhancement of our enterprise value. In order to develop these activities, Astellas considers working with relevant partners where appropriate and will continue to work with and maintain a close dialogue with stakeholders.
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Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were to build upon the Millennium Development Goals, were formally adopted as the universal, integrated and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 associated targets.
Through business activities and measures to fulfill its corporate social responsibilities, Astellas aims to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were established through a collaborative effort by the international community. For further detail, please visit here.
Focus on Improving Access to Health in Four Areas
In regard to “Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being” under the SDGs, Astellas has identified four areas where it is working to address Access to Health issues. e four areas are (1) Creating innovation, (2) Enhancing availability, (3) Strengthening healthcare systems, and (4) Improving health literacy.
One of our priorities for creating innovation is drug discovery research for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). In April 2016, Astellas signed a new collaborative research agreement with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) to discover new drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease. is agreement is based on knowledge obtained through collaborative research undertaken with AIST and other partners. Moreover, in June 2016, Astellas signed a new collaborative development agreement with the Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo, on the rice-based oral vaccine “MucoRice-CTB” against cholera and enterotoxigenic Escheria coli (E coli) caused diarrheal diseases. Furthermore, Astellas is working closely with partners to develop a pediatric formulation of praziquantel tablets for the treatment of schistosomiasis.
Advancing Various Initiatives to Reduce Environmental Impact
Astellas is advancing initiatives such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting resource recycling and improving the Biodiversity Index. Through these and other initiatives, Astellas will contribute to achieving SDGs such as “Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation,” “Goal 13: Climate Action,” and “Goal 15: Life on Land.”Close
Combating Tropical Diseases
Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. In developing countries, diarrhea caused by pathogenic bacteria such as Vibrio cholerae and enterotoxigenic E.coli, is a major cause of death among infants and young children.
Astellas is conducting a collaborative research with the Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo (IMSUT) on the rice-based oral vaccine “MucoRice-CTB” against diarrheal diseases caused by cholera and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (E.coli).
Neglected Tropical Diseases
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a serious healthcare issue that is being addressed on a global scale. NTDs are infections caused by parasite, bacteria and virus which are mainly endemic in tropical areas of developing countries. It is estimated that over 1 billion people are affected worldwide only with the 18 diseases* of NTDs on which currently WHO is focusing on. Since these patients do not have enough access to needed medicine and healthcare, NTDs are not only a global health challenge but are said to be associated with poverty and affect economic growth in developing countries.
Astellas is committed to accelerate the discovery of new drugs for patients suffering from NTDs in the world by utilizing our know-how in drug discovery research through various partnerships.
- Development of Pediatric Formulation for Schistosomiasis
- Participation in Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund)
Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases
In recent years, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease have become a major global health issue in both developed and developing nations. Various countermeasures which the health sector can contribute for combating NCDs, such as research and development of new innovative medicines and improvement of access to medicines, are essential, as are measures to increase health promotion and education of healthy lifestyles and well-balanced meals.
In addition to urology and transplantation therapeutic areas, known as our leading position globally, Astellas is focused on becoming a global category leader in oncology by developing a world-class oncology platform based on innovative, research-driven solutions and dynamic partnerships. Also, we support activities which promote prevention, management, and education of various diseases.
Counterfeit medicines are a crucial health issue worldwide. The spread of counterfeit medicines, or drugs not consistent with government-approved specifications, leads not only to the loss of opportunities to effectively treat patients, but to also health hazards.
To secure the quality of our pharmaceutical products for the safety of patients and our distribution channel, Astellas has established a division to conduct surveillance and create countermeasures for counterfeit medicines. We have implemented various counter-measurements in line with our mid-term action plan and have been reviewing events regularly through our counterfeit medicine surveillance.
We are one of the 27 pharmaceutical companies that are members of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, where we work closely with the global pharmaceutical industry, the WHO, and other international organizations. Astellas also conducts various educational activities designed to prevent the spread of counterfeit medicines and cooperates with law enforcement agencies to crackdown on counterfeit medicines.
Supporting Technology Transfer
Technology transfer is a key consideration in countries in need of bridging research-and-development gaps and increasing the availability of essential medicines. Pharmaceutical companies contribute to promote transfer of technology and production of medicines through multiple approaches such as identification of best practices, investment and capacity building through collaborative actions with governments as well as the private sector.
Astellas has supported technology transfer in, Malaysia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and other countries.
Since 2011, we have contributed to the WHO TDR-IFPMA Fellowship Program in research and training in tropical diseases by having fellows, from Botswana, Ethiopia, and other countries working with Clinical Development/Project Management teams in the US and Europe to support Clinical R&D capacity building for treatment of infectious diseases in developing countries.
In October 2015, a third fellow from Republic of Mali joined the R&D group and training was provided until September 2016.
Dr. Etienne dit Anagalou Guirou,
Astellas' third fellow of the WHO TDR-IFPMA Fellowship Program.