Patient 2.0: The digital-savvy patient has arrived

by J Pinching 21. April 2017 09:18

 

 

Patient 2.0: The digital-savvy modern patient has truly arrived and industry must be ready.

The modern patient is here. The digital revolution has prompted the biggest communal reboot since 1948 and patients are increasingly likely to go online for access to health information, to liaise with communities and study treatment options. Consequently, self-care is on the rise – indeed, there are currently 500 million people worldwide accessing healthcare apps, while iTunes offers 43,000 health-based applications.

Our panel of experts – from patient advocacy, health communications, support forums, healthcare solutions and big pharma – talk about the potential of the empowered patient to make decisions, take control and add essential input. 

They will also focus on the challenges that industry and wider healthcare face in providing worthwhile digital engagement.

 

Get smart?

Too much time on smartphones has been linked to weight gain, sleep deprivation and depression, while too much reliance on information has caused misdiagnoses, dangerous approaches to self-care and an unwillingness to access ‘orthodox’ healthcare.

 

Engagement parties

Rebecca Galbraith is Practice Area Head, Patient Support and Adherence at QuintilesIMS

 

A goal of any patient-focused support programme is to engage patients, helping them to take action to improve their health; to be involved in decisions about their healthcare and have useful discussions with healthcare teams about the care they receive.

With some groups – like younger patients, those with chronic illnesses and people with higher incomes – there is a strong trend towards increased engagement.

The use of digital channels including mobile and wearables, to connect with patients, provides tailorable resources that can be incorporated into daily lives. These devices help track symptoms, encourage positive behaviours and improve adherence.

There will be patient populations, however, who exhibit a lack of engagement, and may not be able to interact with digital tools. This could be due to demographics, symptomology or psychological challenges associated with their condition.

Our experience shows that one size does not fit all patients. A multichannel programme, providing the right mix of both digital and in-person interactions with – for example, a nurse – can dramatically improve patient engagement.

 

True lives

Marc Boutin is Chief Executive Officer of the American National Health Council

 

The digital era has simply accelerated a fundamental truth - and made it harder to ignore. Patients want to be listened to and have their say. They don’t want the development of health ‘solutions’ that do not meet their needs.

After decades of frustration, patients are taking to the digital arena, and this pressure is beginning to see results. The pharma industry has begun to make changes – for the benefit of both patients and companies.

No matter how ‘good’ your product, it is useless if the patient doesn’t value it. The industry must co-create health solutions, not for patients, but with patients.

Right from the start, we need to ask patients which outcomes matter most and base our approach on data. The National Health Council is a founding member of the global coalition ‘Patient Focused Medicines Development’ (PFMD) for that very reason.

PFMD runs a crowdsourced online tool which aims to bring together diverse stakeholders – including patient organisations, industry and regulatory bodies – and embed the patient voice throughout the medicine lifecycle.

 

The influencers

Emma Morton is Senior Media Strategist at Ruder Finn UK

 

Modern patients research their condition online, where they can find the latest news on clinical trials, research and treatments.

Numerous platforms now offer robust medical information and reliable advice, as well as support from those experiencing similar symptoms. Many value the experience of comparing their lives with fellow patients, detailing highs and lows.

Our digital team at Ruder Finn have constantly monitored online consumer trends, observing that ‘influencers’ are one of the greatest changes to the healthcare landscape. Patients are frequently turning to posts made by ‘real people’ and medical experts for updates on treatments.

This reliance on the web means that industry needs clear digital strategies to consolidate their online presence. They must engage with patient groups and online influencers – whether they are peers, healthcare professionals or company voices – through appropriate channels.

And, crucially, they should ensure their sites carry jargon-free medical information. Details such as product usage instructions and contraindications are vital as increasing numbers prefer to self-care, particularly for minor conditions.

Strong visuals are a must for patient sites, with online images providing a clear picture of certain conditions.

Public health communicators have long been aware that the young patients are more likely to look at their smart phones, rather than posters, and are developing campaigns with this in mind.

As it grows stronger, on a daily basis, the impact of digital influencers needs to be explored in more depth by the pharmaceutical industry.

 

 

Era defining

Deborah Wyatt is Founding Director of talkhealth Partnership Ltd.

There’s little doubt that the 21st century patient is very different to the 20th century patient of my era. Much has changed and technology has been the key driver.

Today’s patient is more informed. The internet provides access to a wealth of information, enabling patients to better understand their condition. They talk with like-minded patients in online communities and engage across social media. They are open about their symptoms, share information and support each other.

As for the future, research has shown that informed patients are more proactive in making decisions about their health, often leading to improved adherence and better health outcomes. Patients should be at the centre of what happens next. Pharma needs to engage with patients, providing them with what they want and need.

At talkhealth we have helped thousands of patients to interact online with health professionals, charities, fellow patients and carers. This allows them to take control over decisions about their condition and approach their situation positively.

There’s much talk about ‘patient centricity’. Now is the time for healthcare and pharma to involve them at the very start and the very heart of everything they do.

 

Case study: Boehringer Ingelheim

Breathing new life

 

Boehringer Ingelheim has over 90 years of heritage in respiratory disease, having launched several treatments in areas of high unmet need.

As part of its commitment it is looking ‘beyond the pill’ to provide platforms which support patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

The patient activation campaign ‘Think. Act. Breathe’, for example, aims to help people with asthma to identify if they are still symptomatic and, therefore, at risk of an asthma attack. 

Go to thinkactbreathe.com

Also, in light of the increasing global health burden of COPD, the company is running a COPD awareness campaign – ‘COPD Your Time to ACT is Now’. The goal is to help patients and the healthcare community to challenge management of the disease, giving patients the best chance of maintaining a good quality of life. Go to yourtimecopd.com

Meanwhile, for healthcare professionals working with patients who have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, inIPF.com is a global on-line portal, which provides resources on IPF diagnosis and management. 

Boehringer Ingelheim seeks continuous dialogue with patient advocacy groups to deepen our understanding of their needs and inform future developments. Our focus has always been on improving the quality of life of patients and, for us,  delivering value through innovation means coming up with new and better ways to improve their health.

Allan Hillgrove is a member of the Board of Managing Directors at Boehringer Ingelheim with responsibility for the Human Pharma Business Unit.


 

Web of intrigue*

50% of the UK population self-diagnose online

75% search the web for health info

2% have reported a digital interaction with the NHS

96% GP practices have digital clinical records

4% Offer online patient access to records

90% Of patients would use an online appointment**

13.7 million people in Europe will use a connected care system by 2019

*Sourced by the Nuffield Trust

** From a survey of 7,000 people

 

 

 

 

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Features

We’re all living longer, but dementia is casting a long shadow

by Amy Schofield 18. April 2017 09:26

 

 

Time catches up

 

Now the leading cause of death in England and Wales, dementia is an increasingly prevalent threat to public health.

While some treatments can help people to live with symptoms a little better, there are no treatments that slow or stop diseases like Alzheimer’s. Research, with a strong focus on drug discovery, is our only hope.

Dementia is the biggest cause of death for UK women and the second biggest for men. Furthermore, the age-standardised mortality rate for dementia and Alzheimer’s has more than doubled over the last five years for both males and females. In 2015, 61,686 people died of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which equates to 11.6% of all deaths. Among those aged 80 or over, dementia and Alzheimer’s accounted for 21.2% of fatalities among women and 13.7% of male deaths.

Dr Matthew Norton, Director of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia is our greatest challenge, but we are unable to offer the 850,000 people living with dementia a treatment to slow down or cure the diseases underlying their condition.”

 

Feeling the strain

Dementia is not only a terrible disease for sufferers and their loved ones to face, it is also a massive strain on the economy.

According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, it costs the UK over £26bn each year, with this number expected to double over the next 25 years. Although investment in research is increasing, experts are concerned that it is not enough to keep up with intensifying demand.

“Dementia research has been historically underfunded, particularly compared to other disease areas, and we must bridge this gap if we are to defeat it,” stated Dr Norton.

“Recently there has been a greater focus on dementia, particularly with this Parliament committing to invest £300m in research. The £250m UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI) is also being established, bringing together world-leading expertise in biomedical, care, public health and translational dementia research. While we welcome this rise in support, the job is not done yet,” he added.

 

Hope for the future

Recent setbacks in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s – including Merck’s decision to halt the trial of experimental drug, verubecestat, and the late-stage failure of Eli Lilly’s solanezumab – have not diminished hope of a treatment for dementia.

“We must continue to push forward. It is now more important than ever to focus on a variety of approaches for drug development,” reflected Dr Norton.

The neuroscience area of the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) is harnessing new technologies to build human models of neurological disease, and researchers are currently working on new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

Meanwhile, scientists at the UCL Dementia Research Centre, a hub for clinical research into various forms of dementia, are focussing on identifying and understanding the disease processes that cause dementia and how best to support people with dementia and their families.

Alzheimer’s Research UK is also supporting dementia research projects worth over £27 million in leading universities across the UK, including its pioneering DRI.

“As the UK DRI takes shape, we are confident that the expertise being brought together will move us closer to finding a life-changing treatment, which will have a huge impact on our society,” explained Dr Norton. “Success will require a step-change in commitment and ambition not just from government, but from charities and industry across the world. If we could delay onset of dementia by five years, this would result in 469,000 fewer people living with the condition by 2030.”

 

Rachel’s story

Reflections on a relative living with dementia

My Grandad was diagnosed with dementia 10 years ago at the age of 85.

It was obvious that things hadn’t been right for a while – his behaviour was becoming erratic and the once quiet, gentle Grandad I knew started having aggressive episodes. My Grandad is now in Stage 6 of dementia and no longer knows who I am. Stage 7 is ‘final’.

One of the scariest things about my Grandad’s dementia is trying to remember what he was like before. Sometimes I worry that I might forget. I do try to remind myself how lucky we are to have had the Grandad I once knew – the one who taught my Mum her love of literature and who would always sneak me a square of Cadbury’s chocolate from his secret stash.

It’s been extremely difficult for my entire family, because there’s nothing we can do; there’s no way to slow it down. But we don’t let it defeat us and try and keep everything in perspective. For example, we’re fortunate that my Grandad’s care home is hugely supportive and the staff are wonderful.

I think it’s important to ensure the right care is given to those suffering from dementia, but also that support is provided for loved ones. I hope that the government will increase their investment in finding a cure for dementia but, in the meantime, I would like to see more access to free care and services.

I’m feeling hopeful for the future – I’m here fighting with Grandad.  

 

Dementia facts

1. Dementia itself is not a disease – the word ‘dementia’ is an umbrella term for the symptoms caused by different diseases.

2. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but other dementias include vascular and frontotemporal dementia.

3. Dementia has a bigger impact on women – half a million women in the UK are now living with dementia.

4. Research into the condition still only receives around 3% of the UK government’s medical research budget.

5. Recent research has discovered that factors linked to dementia include loneliness, high blood sugar and protein in urine.

 

Dementia research desperately needs volunteers. ‘Join dementia research’ is an initiative to help people with and without dementia register their interest. Go to joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk

 


 

 

 

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Features

Does putting the clock forward risk IVF failure?

by Amy Schofield 13. April 2017 09:45

 

 

Don’t believe the hype: health headlines dissected

 

THE STORY

Following winter, many of us welcome the extra hour of daylight when the clocks go forward in spring. A recently published study, however, looked at the effect of daylight savings time (DST – a similar system to British Summer Time) on pregnancy and pregnancy loss rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Cycles showed that rates of loss were significantly higher in spring. Could that extra hour actually be an unwelcome change for pregnant women, and if so, why? The secret may lie in the disruption to our natural circadian rhythms – the 24-hour ‘biological clock’ that all living beings abide by.

 

THE RESEARCH

A group of U.S. researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and IVF New England, Massachusetts, conducted a retrospective analytic sample of 1654 patients at a single fertility centre, from 2009 to 2012. The sample included patients undergoing autologous IVF cycles prior to and during DST.

The researchers looked at whether the shift into DST during the women’s treatment was associated with their likelihood of getting pregnant or their risk of miscarriage.

Three study groups representing varied timings of DST, in relation to the embryo transfer date, were created. In the first group, DST occurred between day one of ovarian cycle stimulation and the day of embryo transfer. In the second, DST occurred within 21 days after embryo transfer while, in the control group, DST happened a minimum of 10 weeks after day one of the ovarian cycle stimulation.

 

THE RESULTS

The researchers discovered that, although pregnancy loss rates were comparable between the two seasons (15.5%, 17.1%), women were significantly more likely to have a miscarriage (24.3%) if the clocks went forward within 21 days of an embryo being implanted.

 

THE DEAL

Previous research into the effect of DST has shown a link between a number of negative events, including an increase in the risk of heart attacks, strokes and a higher rate of fatal road traffic accidents.

These events are primarily observed in spring, and may be linked to the anomaly caused by the artificial one-hour adjustment to time. It is not known why these things happen, but it is thought that natural ‘circadian neuroendocrine rhythms’ influence our physiology and behaviour. In turn, a fragile biological process, such as pregnancy, could also be influenced by the effect of DST.

The study, however, only looked at a small group of women at one clinic – cause and effect has not been established. The researchers concluded: “Further investigation by prospective study is required before assuming that this association is causal, clinically significant or necessitates intervention”.

Some of the headlines were misleading, failing to mention that the study involved women undergoing IVF, which could needlessly worry other pregnant women too.

 

What the press said:

“Miscarriages for women on IVF ‘double when the clocks go forward’” Mail Online

“Clock change linked to miscarriage”
The Times; “Women who undergo IVF treatment within 21 days of clocks going forward are TWICE as likely to miscarry” Mirror.co.uk  

 

Spring forward, fall back

Benjamin Franklin suggested the idea of DST in 1784 as a way to save on sunlight and burn fewer candles

Countries including Venezuela, Kenya and Saudi Arabia don’t adjust their clocks

British Summer Time begins on the last Sunday of March

 

 

 

 

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Features

Biggest Pf Awards ever celebrates industry brilliance

by John Pinching 6. April 2017 15:18

 

 

Pf Awards 2017

The biggest Pf Awards ever celebrates new heights of industry brilliance. 

 

View the full Pf awards 2017 brochure here.

 

As the seventeenth Pf Awards unfolded at the Lancaster Hotel in London it was clear that these unique accolades continue to thrill and inspire everyone involved with them.

Melanie Hamer and her team again delivered an unforgettable evening, as they have every year since the turn of the century. Over the years, the Pf Awards have realigned according to change – recognising cultural shifts within a rapidly evolving industry.

Embracing these changes has ensured that the awards remain the pinnacle of achievement in our industry, and perhaps explains why this year was the biggest, brightest and most brilliant Pf Awards ever.

Comedian and actor Marcus Brigstocke oversaw proceedings with a masterful commentary on the challenges of living in modern Britain, targeting many of the audience in the process, before distributing the awards to their grateful recipients.

The reaction of winners varied from triumphant cheers to stunned disbelief, but the one common theme was utter delight. History had witnessed that, for those taking one of the glorious trophies home, life will never be the same again.

The pharma-based joy continued long into the night, helped along by a unique atmosphere, well-deserved cocktails and even some jazz. Needless to say, some were talking about what would happen next year.

 

Champions league

The smiles on display during the Pf Awards Dinner perhaps belied exactly what participants had to go through in order to take their seat at the top table.

‘Assessment Day’ is not for the faint-hearted and has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the toughest challenges in the industry calendar. It is where candidates present the skills they use on a daily basis and allow them to be scrutinised, dissected and judged by a panel of independent healthcare and pharma experts.

This year’s day of reckoning took place at the King Power Stadium, home of reigning Premier League Champions, Leicester City. Indeed, as the patrons of that ground are discovering this season, there is absolutely nowhere to hide when the focus is on you. Your only choice is to come out fighting. With this considered, it was noticeable how many of our industry people were prepared to step up with confidence and lay everything on the line.

GSK’s Kim Lafferty, winner of the Learning and Development Award, said: “We particularly enjoyed this year’s judges, the questions they asked and the level of intensity with which they listened to our story.”

“The questions we had demonstrated the really high level of professionalism, and it was a great experience,” added Agnes Svilpaite, Bayer Pharmaceuticals’s Sales Team Award winner.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Denny from Republic M! UK LTD, joint winner of the e-Representative Award, paid tribute to the competition. “It was even tougher than last year and I knew that I was up against a lot of good people.”

Despite of the high levels of performance, there was also camaraderie among the candidates. “There was so much support from the different companies for each other,” reflected Secondary Care Specialist Award winner, Alison Duncan, from Abbvie Ltd.

As they say, fortune favours the brave, but many of the 2017 winners will remember the nerves on Assessment Day as much as the relief when their names were finally announced.  

 

The story of the Pf Awards 2017 from a selection of winners and sponsors

“This is the absolute pinnacle – the last few years I’ve been working in Germany for a pharmaceutical company but, in the UK, the level of expertise you need for this type of award is beyond belief.” 

Isidore Duru, Grünenthal Ltd, Sales Team Award sponsor

 

“It’s a dream come true – I’m really pleased with my achievements tonight and to be recognised in front of industry is fantastic.”

Rob Turnbull, Thornton & Ross, Regional Manager Award winner

 

“Our industry and our customers are getting more and more challenged every day, so it’s great to have the opportunity to recognise people publicly for their efforts.” 

Steve Howson, Ferring Pharmaceuticals Limited, Secondary Care Specialist Award sponsor

 

“I have never won anything before. We are just nurses and to get this is amazing.” 

Kathy Wadhams, Ashfield, Clinical Nursing Award winner

 

“It’s so fantastic to know that everything you’re doing is really worth it and to get an award at the end is just amazing.” 

Ashley Strong, Forte UK, Primary Care Specialist Award sponsor

 

“The real winners are the patients, who continue to benefit from new treatments, and are kept up to date as they come along.” 

Jo Underhill, Astellas Pharma Ltd, Experienced Account Manager sponsor

 

“I’m overwhelmed that it’s been recognised – thank you so much.” 

Tracey Murphy, Coloplast Ltd, Acccount Project Award winner

 

“I came away feeling like I’d been challenged – it was hard work but I enjoyed it.” 

Ben Clark, Astellas Pharma Ltd, New Account Manager Award winner

 

“This is the second year we’ve sponsored this event and to see another set of young, bright, enthusiastic people is just fabulous.”

Colin Watson, Ashfield Commercial & Medical Services, Account Team Award sponsor

 

“I’d like to inspire other people to give it a go as well next year.” 

Catherine Pollard, Abbvie Ltd, Medical Scientific Liaison Award winner

 

“The Pf Awards are critical in showing that individuals are making a huge difference to healthcare providers and patients across the UK.” 

Dr Priya Agrawal, MSD, Account Project Award sponsor

 

To take part next year, go to pfawards.co.uk.

View the full Pf awards 2017 brochure here.


 

 

 

 

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Features

David Garmon-Jones on 35 years in pharma

by John Pinching 4. April 2017 08:21

 

Pour l'amour de la pharma

After 35 years in pharma, covering both sides of the equator, Merck’s former U.K. MD, David Garmon-Jones, has linked up with exciting French company MedDay.

David has been round the healthcare and pharma blocks a few times but, even after several decades, he is still excited about the possibility of making a difference.

 

What are you up to, David?

I was approached by French company, MedDay Pharma, at the end of 2016, about an appealing project. They have discovered a promising treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). There are many treatments for relapsing remitting MS, but limited options for the progressive disease. We have recently started MedDay UK, recruiting a small number of talented people, and our product is going through the European Medicines Agency as we speak. Hopefully we’ll get our license soon.

 

How did MedDay start?

It was formed by Dr Frédéric Sedel who – as a leading neurologist specialising in metabolic diseases – realised there must be something more than inflammation at play in neurodegenerative diseases. He founded MedDay with Guillaume Brion, who is vastly experienced in drug development and clinical trials. The company brings a completely different approach, by targeting brain metabolism.

 

What products is MedDay working on?

We work in areas of unmet medical need, and the project I am most excited about is our product for progressive MS, which is still in clinical development. The results of the first clinical trial were promising, showing results in some patients that haven’t been seen before. Another Phase III trial is about to start, which has several sites in the UK.

 

Why did you get involved?

I was happy fulfilling a portfolio of roles, playing golf and enjoying a lower blood pressure, but when the approach came it was too good to turn down. The French are delightful – they are scientists with great experience in research and clinical development and they’re in it for the right reasons. My German colleague, Heike Neirmann, and I, have been brought
in to develop the commercial side.

 

What’s your role at Decideum?

When I left Merck, Berkeley Greenwood – Decideum’s MD – asked me to become chairman of the organisation. I have spent a year and a half working with them and they’ve got great expertise in market access and government affairs. It’s a company that backs youth and Alex Ledger (Deputy Managing Director at Decideum and Pf Magazine’s Political Correspondent) is a great example of that. They’re currently helping MedDay with its market access activities.

 

You were with Merck for a very long time.

Yes, when I joined Merck I was ‘Baldrick’ – I knew nothing and was straight out of uni. Being a rookie rep, ploughing a lonely furrow in South London, was a great education. That’s why I try to be supportive of people entering our industry – it gives you so many opportunities to develop. Pharma has an interesting relationship with medics, however, and you need to be able to take a blow or two to survive in this game.

 

What happened next at Merck?

I went into sales management, product management and eventually became managing director of the UK operation. I was always very proud of that, because it’s unusual to have somebody that goes from ‘carrying the bag’, to MD in the same organisation.

 

Did that reflect your ruthless ambition?

I’m not one of those people who stabs others in the back to reach the top! I always enjoyed focussing on the current job and, in my experience, if you do that effectively, the future takes care of itself.

 

They clearly had a lot of faith in you.

Merck is a great company and – in those days – the affiliates had a lot of autonomy, so you were able to do really interesting stuff. I went to Australia for five years and put Merck and Serono together there. I found myself in a new organisation 10,000 miles away from home and the locals didn’t have a clue who I was – it was great to help build up the business, almost from scratch.

 

How did the Aussies react to an Englishman taking over?

There was always banter around sport, but I found the Aussies to be very welcoming and willing to give you a fair go. If you were an arse, they’d tell you, but I like that approach.

 

What was the main difference from an industry perspective?

There are a lot of similarities regarding reimbursement and they have exactly the same issues as we do around NICE. The systems, however, are simpler over there, because they are federal and everything happens in Canberra. When dealing with people they are also a little less cynical than us!

 

Was it always your intention to have a career in pharma?

My Dad was a GP, so I knew about industry. I was being interviewed for all sorts of sales position, after leaving university, but the medical rep role came with a fancy 1.3L Ford Escort, so who was I to resist?

 

Was pharma in the 80s all champagne lunches and golf?

Not for me! Going out for lunch with GPs definitely happened, but it’s been exaggerated. It was simply a way of getting time with them.

 

Are the NHS and pharma gravitating towards each other?

I spent two years as a Non-Exec Director at Bucks NHS trust, which was fascinating. There are good examples of joint working, but there is still suspicion from the NHS about pharma, and a bit of ignorance from pharma about the NHS. Industry wants too many simple answers – getting close and understanding their world is key. STPs are a good example of where pharma could help, but it needs a broader approach, which concentrates on disease management, rather than selling a widget.

 

Which record would you choose for the soundtrack of your life?

Something from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon – ‘Us and them’.

 

Splendid choice. What would be your last supper?

A family barbeque, with a huge fillet steak and a nice bottle of Pinot Noir, from Australia. After that you can take me away, quite happily.

 

Consider it done. Goodbye David.

Bye John.  

 

Go to medday-pharma.com

 

 

 

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Features

Readers ask NHS & DoH leaders their critical questions

by John Pinching 2. April 2017 12:55

 


At your service

We gave our readers the opportunity to ask NHS England and Department of Health leaders their critical questions. 

 

 

Richard Cobourne, Medical Communications Consultant, Cobourne Limited:

Q: How do European Commission marketing authorisation decisions affect NHS prescribing decisions – or is NICE the authority?

 

Department of Health spokesperson: 

A: NHS prescribers may prescribe any drug that has received a marketing authorisation, subject to some national restrictions and local funding policies. NICE issues guidance to the NHS on whether licensed medicines represent a clinically and cost effective use of resources.

NHS England spokesperson: 

A: Granting marketing authorisations for biotechnology products falls under the authority of the European Medicines Agency, and the European Commission, within the European Union.

 

 

Sarah Pinch, Managing Director, Pinch Point Communications:

Q: Is the advertising ban on sugary foods going to help with the emerging diabetes and obesity problem?

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England:

A: This bold and welcome action will send a powerful signal, and incentivise soft drinks companies to act on the health consequences of their products. It is a major first step in what must be a comprehensive childhood obesity strategy that will help us shed pounds off our waistlines, and save pounds on future NHS costs.

While no child needs a daily dose of sugary fizzy water, sadly soft drinks are now our children’s largest single source of diabetes-inducing, teeth-rotting excess sugar. And since poorer children are twice as likely to be obese than better off children, these measures should also cut child health inequalities. Obesity now affects one in five children, causes one in five cancer deaths, and already costs the NHS £5 billion a year – so obesity is the new ‘smoking’. 

 

Dr Anne Connolly, GP and Chair of the Primary Care Women’s Health Forum:

Q: How can the NHS improve access to psychological support, self-empowerment and self-care?

Department of Health spokesperson: 

A: For people living with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, having someone to talk to can be a real lifeline and help them manage their conditions.

Talking therapies make a real difference to many people with mental health problems – that’s why we introduced the first waiting times and standards. More than four million people have received treatment so far, and targets have been exceeded, with 90% being seen within six weeks  – but we are striving to improve further.

  

Simon Nicholson, Market Access Director, MSD:

Q: How does the NHS plan to scaleup commercial capabilities and how will this align with the new commercial director role at the DH?

Department of Health spokesperson: 

A: The new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) will support the Department in its responsibilities for the overall PPRS regime and whatever arrangements may follow. As part of our development of commercial capability across the NHS we are creating a ‘Network of Professions’ to link up commercial teams across the healthcare system, and get them working together to provide a modern and efficient service. The CCO will oversee the work which, day-to-day, will be handled by the Department.

 

Siân Boisseau, Executive Director, Golin: 

Q: In recent years has the relationship between pharma and the NHS improved?

Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England:

A: There has always been a strong relationship, but July 2016 saw the introduction of the ABPI’s ‘Disclosure’ UK database, which is designed to promote transparency.

In response to this launch, an NHS England spokesperson said: “The ABPI publication is an important step forward, in terms of transparency, but is not yet the complete solution. Voluntary disclosure does not go far enough, and all companies should follow industry leaders in refusing to fund individuals who decline to be transparent about their payments.”

 

Graham Hawthorn, Managing Director, Chase: 

Q: What is the most successful initiative you have seen from the pharma industry in the past few years and why was it a success?

Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England:

A: The blossoming biosimilars sector is a growing success story. A biosimilar medicine is similar to another biological medicine, which is already licensed for use, and will not have any clinically meaningful differences from the originator, in terms of quality, safety and efficacy.

These biosimilar medicines are not considered generic equivalents to their originator biological medicine, because the two products are similar, but not identical.

 

Lydia Owen, Client Services Director, OSP Healthcare: 

Q: What is being done to ensure that innovative new medicines get to the patients that need them most?

Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England:

A: A lot of work is being carried out in this field. The Accelerated Access Review report – published last year – was commissioned by the government and led by an independent chair. The review aims to make the UK a world-leader in healthcare innovation, with an NHS that embraces the new drugs and technologies patients need, while supporting work with local areas to develop solutions to specific healthcare requirements.

Medicines optimisation, reducing unwarranted variation and increasing value through medicines optimisation are crucial elements of NHS RightCare’s innovation work.

  

Cara Bunce, Client Relationship Manager, Big Pink: 

Q: What opportunities will there be for pharma to work with the NHS, now and in the future?

Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England:

A: NHS England is committed to working with the pharmaceutical industry for the benefit of patients and the taxpayer. Working together within appropriate governance frameworks and policies, NHS England and industry can make a real difference to patients by utilising innovation.

It is also about ensuring products, developed by the industry, are used in the most effective way possible, through adopting the principles of medicines optimisation.

 

Deborah Evans, Pharmacist, Managing Director, Pharmacy Complete: 

Q: With all the challenges, in terms of managing demand in hospitals and GP surgeries, will community pharmacy be taken seriously in relieving these significant pressures?

Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England:

A: Absolutely – in September 2016 NHS England delivered its first report on enhancing the quality of care, and improving access to seven day pharmacy services, for patients in hospital.

‘Transformation of Seven Day Clinical Pharmacy Services in Acute Hospitals’ sets out a vision where hospital pharmacy services could operate more efficiently and safely, with 13 key recommendations of how clinical pharmacy services in hospitals can be strengthened. 

In October 2016, NHS England announced a £42m Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF). This will support community pharmacy to transform its services across the NHS, while developing new clinical services, working practices and digital platforms.

  

Malcolm Skingle, Director, Academic Liaison, GSK: 

Q: What opportunities are there for the NHS in post-Brexit Britain and what work is underway to ensure the NHS encourages investment in the UK?

Department of Health spokesperson: 

A: Ensuring patients have timely access to safe, effective medicines is, and always will be, a priority for this government. In fact, Brexit brings opportunities in this area, and we will be focussed on whether we can secure even faster access to the latest innovations for British patients.

The Government has separately shown its commitment to supporting the industry by commissioning the Accelerated Access Review, which suggests a number of ways we can make sure that innovative new treatments get to patients quicker.

 

John Pinching, Editor Pf Magazine

Q: How is technology and ‘digital’ impacting on the delivery of NHS services and how will it shape the modern health service?

Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England: 

A: The implementation of ePrescribing – the electronic prescription service – is complex, and an area in which expertise and specific tools are required; both of which NHSE continue to support.

ePrescribing is a key priority, as evidenced by its inclusion in the recent ‘Carter’ report, and it will be a vital part of local ‘digital road maps’. Any future funding is likely to be based on priorities identified within these.

The Independent Review of Community Pharmacy Clinical Services, which was commissioned by the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer of England, stated that: “To unlock the full potential of community pharmacy requires greater digital maturity and interconnectivity – allowing pharmacy staff to share clinical information about patient care with clinical records held by other healthcare professionals.”

NHS England will consider these recommendations in due course.

Department of health spokesperson: 

A: Technology is at the heart of this government’s drive to make the NHS the safest and most transparent healthcare system in the world. Over the last five years we have invested around £5 billion in health research, leading to new life-saving treatments for cancer, and earlier diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Through the National Institute for Health Research we continue to invest over £1bn per year for vaccine development, clinical trials, medical devices, DNA sequencing and new technologies.   

 

 

 

 

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Paralympian Aaron Phipps tells us how meningitis shaped his life

by John Pinching 27. March 2017 13:42

 


New hope against an old enemy

Meningitis hasn’t gone away and awareness must continue. 

 

In order to highlight the dangers of meningitis, Pf Magazine spoke to the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF). 

What is meningitis and what are the different types?

Bacterial meningitis is the inflammation of lining around the brain and spinal cord, while septicaemia is the blood poisoning form of the disease. Meningococcal disease is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among young people in the UK.  

 

Who is currently being protected?

In the UK vaccines are available as part of the immunisation schedule for five types of infection (A, B, C, W and Y). The meningococcal group C (MenC) vaccine – introduced in 1999 – has now reduced cases to just a handful each year. It is given to babies at one, and boosted at 14. Around one in four teenagers carry meningococcal bacteria, and it’s one in 10 for the rest of the population. 

 

Have there been any further developments?

In 2015 the teenage MenC vaccine was upgraded to MenACWY, providing additional protection, after a dramatic increase in the UK. The MenB vaccine was also introduced for all babies in 2015 and results show that it is successfully preventing disease in this vulnerable group. Meanwhile, the Department of Health has called for a national study to evaluate the effect of the MenB vaccine in preventing adolescents from carrying meningococcal B bacteria. If it is found to be the case, vaccinating teenagers could be key to protecting everyone. 

 

How should you react if you display symptoms?

If someone gets a rash or spots, the ‘tumbler test’ can be used, and it’s very important to seek urgent medical help if it does not fade under glass. Trust your instincts – don’t wait for a rash. Someone who has meningitis or septicaemia could become seriously ill very quickly and medical help should be sought immediately – it’s a race against time. 

 

What treatments are available?

If diagnosed early, bacterial meningitis or septicaemia can be treated with IV antibiotics.  

 

What is your main aim for the future?

MRF’s vision is a world free from meningitis and septicaemia. They are deadly diseases that can strike without warning – killing one in ten – and leaving a quarter of survivors with life-altering conditions, such as deafness, brain damage and loss of limbs. Babies, toddlers and young adults are most at risk, however, it can strike anyone, of any age, at any time. 

 

For help, advice and support, go to meningitis.org, call the helpline on 0808 800 3344 or email helpline@meningitis.org

 

 

Score to settle

 Aaron Phipps, the former Great Britain wheelchair rugby player and London 2012 Paralympic athlete, tells us about how meningitis shaped his life.  

As a teenager, I was really interested in extreme sports, including rollerblading, skateboarding and BMXing, as well as fast competitive sports, like basketball. 

In 1999, when I was 15, I contracted meningitis C and meningococcal septicaemia. In 12 hours, this deadly disease developed from seemingly harmless flu-like symptoms, to being on a life support machine. I was in a coma for two weeks.  

By March, both of my legs and most of my fingers had to be amputated due to septicaemia. Overall, I spent a year in hospital recovering and rehabilitating, as I adapted to the life-changing situation thrown at me. 

Eight months after being discharged, I enrolled at Totton College to study for my A-levels, as my life returned to a kind of normality. 

In 2007 I participated in the Totton 10km wheelchair race to raise money for MRF – the charity that has supported me and my family since I became ill. 

Having developed a taste for racing, I contacted the British Wheelchair Association who gave me a racing chair. Equipped with this, I started to compete in races on a regular basis, including two London Marathons. During the second in 2009, I finished as the fourth highest-placed UK male, in a time of 1hr 59mins.

I was then introduced to the GB Wheelchair Rugby squad and soon became an established member of the team, participating in a number of major tournaments. I channelled all my energy into training and, in 2011, attended the ‘Florida Project’ – a 10-week intensive training camp to help me compete on the international stage. Soon I was classified as a 3.5 player – the highest in the GB wheelchair rugby squad. 

The hard work paid off when I was selected as part of the wheelchair rugby team, representing Great Britain, in the London 2012 Paralympic Games. During the tournament I scored over half the team’s overall points.  

In 2016 I set myself the ultimate challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa – to raise money for MRF. As I got higher up the mountain, my off-road wheelchair could no longer deal with the rough terrain, so I trekked for four days on my hands and knees. It was a real test of my endurance, but I was determined to reach the summit.  

It was the first time a disabled British person had climbed Kilimanjaro without assistance and, over the years, I have raised over £250,000 for MRF. 

I now work for Roma Sport on innovation and development within its sports and active wheelchair portfolio. I am also an athlete mentor for Sky Academy, a motivational speaker and Chancellor of the New Forest and Southampton Children’s University. 

 

Aaron lives with wife, Vicky, and daughters, Emma and Chloe, in his hometown of Totton, Southampton.  

  

In Memory of Adam Tolfree, 2 April 2000–7 January 2017. Adam passed away as a result of sepsis caused by Meningitis B.

 

 

 

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The great devolution? Examining the future of healthcare spending

by Amy Schofield 14. March 2017 09:39

 


The first Parallel Learning webinar examines the future of healthcare spending

 

Featuring a live Q&A between experts and key opinion leaders, the first ‘Parallel Learning’ webinar hosted delegates from the pharma and healthcare industries. They convened to discuss the future of healthcare spending, prompted by the example of Greater Manchester (GM) – the first English region to gain control of health spending.

Chair Michael Sobanja opened by explaining how this “immense” devolution project took us back to a deal struck in Manchester, during February 2015. It involved 10 boroughs, 12 CCGs, and 15 NHS Trusts – with a budget of around £6bn. George Osborne had referred to it as “part of his Northern Powerhouse project”, while Andy Burnham – Shadow Health Secretary at the time, said that it had the potential to create a “two–tier NHS”.

Michael asked, “Is it ambitious rhetoric, or a real opportunity to improve health?”

Speaker Peter Rowe – Deputy Chairman of East Lancashire NHS Trust –shared an insightful presentation on how the Greater Manchester Strategic Partnership has gone from signing the devolution deal, in February 2015, to taking charge of health and social care spending in April 2016. “There is a lot of trust between the people here, and the bureaucracy that supports it is slick and efficient. The speed at which decisions are being taken and implemented is quite astonishing. Things are moving very rapidly,” said Peter.

The webinar also explored what is happening on the ground in Manchester, how it will affect pharma’s customer relationships at a local level and how this will affect the establishment of similar organisations elsewhere.

“We’re seeing a real potential shift in political power, so that central Government will have much less influence over what actually happens on the ground,” explained Peter. “Local politicians, together with local health leaders, will be held to account by their populations through the ballot box and local elections.”

 

What now for pharma?

Peter set about explaining how Greater Manchester is intending to engage with pharma companies. During the live Q&A, he explained how the GM devo team, the ABPI, EMIG and various other bodies in the pharma industry, have signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’, which will answer many questions that industry has.

“This is probably the place in England where medicines optimisation has the best chance of success,” Peter explained. “Potentially GM could really be the test bed for things that you’ve wanted to do for years, which is to improve the value of your medicines, and prove the case that innovative use of medicines can make a difference to health outputs in the real world.”

In answer to a question regarding the Carter Review plans that will affect pharmacy, and whether they are on target, Peter said: “In the next few weeks, pharma colleagues should be able to see what is proposed in GM and the rest of the country. We shall see the manifestation of Lord Carter’s proposal in hospitals across the whole of the UK, not just in GM.”

On the issue of medicines optimisation, Peter referred to how there may have been too much focus on the use of low cost drugs: “There will be a sincere approach whereby it is seen that an innovative new medicine or an existing medicine, which might cost more, can genuinely change the way that either the healthcare system works, or whether the patient can be returned to work, or can have a quality of life that will reduce their demand on social services.”

 

Eyes on the future?

Who is accountable if GM “goes wrong?” asked another delegate. “GM want to set their own performance standards and it is likely that you will see a real shift in where accountability really lies,” replied Peter.

When asked by another delegate whether devolution can be applied everywhere, Michael Sobanja cited the possible effect of Brexit in slowing progress: “I don’t think devolution is going to go very quickly, or as quickly as we might have thought, had Cameron and Osborne still been around. Devolution has to have willing and competent partners.”

Is it likely that the model emerging in GM will form the basis for future sustainability and transformation plans (STPs)? “The truth is, it’s a big experiment,” said Peter. “The government, Department of Health and everybody else will watch it very closely. There will be many parts of it that will be used to inform STPs and the way they work.”

Peter said that speaking at the first webinar had been “a new experience, and very enjoyable. The presentation flowed well and the interaction with the Chairman and audience during questions was effective and positive.” He also praised the concept behind Parallel Learning: “It’s a great way to share information and to interact with busy people.”  

Go to parallellearning.co.uk

 


 

 

 

Alex Ledger discusses what the loss of the EMA means

by Alex Ledger 14. March 2017 09:19

 

Joy division?

 

Will the loss of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) result in slower drug access for UK patients? It will according to Sir Alasdair Breckenridge – former chair of the The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – and it might do more than that.

Several countries are vying to give a home to Europe’s medicines licensing agency. Barcelona, Milan, Lyon, Dublin, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Budapest have all apparently submitted their interest. All offer sensible prospects, however, the stakes are high. An EMA staff survey, recently reported in the FT, has been presented to the agency’s governing board, which showed that about 50% of employees would leave in the event of relocation to an undesirable city.

Even losing a fraction of this number would dramatically restrict the EMA’s work programme, slowing down the rate of evaluations and, ultimately, approvals. All European patients would suffer.

The EMA relocated to large headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf two years ago. In those modern facilities, 890 medics, scientists and bureaucrats determine the licensing and monitoring decisions for medicines throughout the European Union. Additionally, the agency coordinates 36,000 national regulators and scientists each year, from across the continent, who approve the safety and efficacy of drugs.

To accompany this, a specialist regulatory industry has blossomed in and around London, supporting companies through the EMA’s processes. Relocation of the agency means the potential loss of highly-skilled professionals who will, inevitably, take their skills, taxes and expense budgets elsewhere.

Naturally, concern has also been raised in Parliament. During Prime Minister’s Questions SNP MP Philippa Whitford – member of the health select committee – raised a probing question, inquiring as to the Government’s plans to tackle the departure of the EMA. Theresa May’s retort was devoid of detail other than to say it was ‘looking into the matter’.

Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth MP, has publicly stated that he has written to Jeremy Hunt, characterising the Government's handling as “reckless”, carrying with it a “damaging loss of jobs and wealth”.

Securing a good deal for medicines regulation is fast becoming a high-profile feature of the proposed Brexit negotiations. Any agreement will need to reassure industry that the UK will not represent a substantial hurdle to secure access. Achieving this is a tough demand.

An option to avoid disruption and cost would be an agreement for the UK to continue participating in the EMA and its regulatory system. There is precedent for this. Norway, Iceland and some smaller European countries are members and subject to its rulings. To achieve this, however, those countries had agreed to be members of the single market and, as part of this, accepted core EU principles such as free movement of people, goods, capital and services. There is no appetite within the Government to entertain such a ‘soft’ Brexit.

Another suggestion would be to automatically adopt post-Brexit EMA rulings by uniting the MHRA and NICE to make them a more appealing prospect to industry. A single, integrated agency responsible for an end-to-end value assessment of new technologies could speed up regulatory decisions and reimbursement. This would be a positive development.

Nevertheless, both bodies have prominent independent reputations – both domestically and internationally – and will be keen to protect their respective territories. NICE operates an international consulting arm, and the MHRA uses its expertise to conduct reviews on behalf of the EMA – it currently approves about 25% of all medicines in the EU.

To duplicate the EMA’s work would entail a substantial uplift in resource and cost. It is hard to see how Government would finance this without passing some cost onto industry. MHRA already charges and NICE has proposed new fees for its own assessments. These latter reforms have sensibly been paused for the time being, in light of Brexit, and will await publication of the Government’s industrial strategy in the coming months.

Somewhere the risks of European departure for the future of the life sciences sector are being listened to, but worryingly there remains little convincing detail about proposed solutions.   

 

EMA in numbers

Licenses medicines in 28 EU states

Equates to 25% of the world’s total drug market

Serves a combined population of 500 million people

The UK on its own is about 3% of the global market.

 

New order

Should Breckenridge’s views cause concern – would the impact of Brexit create a two-tier regulatory system in the UK? EMA as the major market, and the MHRA – or a succeeding body – as the second. If so, pharma could be deterred from launching in the UK early, particularly if it came with additional costs.

Theresa May’s government has suggested that much of EU regulation is readily adoptable and can be quickly ‘copy and pasted’ into UK law. Industry figures have been quick to endorse this, suggesting that a system of mutual recognition with the EMA might offer a workable solution. Some legislative experts, however, have been more sceptical.
There are suggestions that, because a sizeable proportion of EU regulation is considered to refer directly to European institutions or other EU legislation, it cannot be easily transferred.

The EMA – an agency subject to the European court system – has been clearly marked out as not featuring in the Government’s post-Brexit plans. Indeed, it was the judgements of this court which fuelled much of ‘Team Leave’s’ messages in the run up to the referendum. One of their core arguments was the cutting of the overly constrictive regulatory order to ensure the UK was not subject to decisions from the European Court of Justice after Brexit. It would be an Olympic effort to row back on that one.

 

Alex Ledger is Deputy Managing Director at Decideum - the views expressed are entirely his own. Go to decideum.com

 

 

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Features

A tour of fame, fortune and philanthropy

by Amy Schofield 13. March 2017 13:26

 

Gotta have faith

Following George Michael’s untimely death, stories of his generous donations to charitable causes surfaced. Which other celebrities have shared their good fortune?

Read the cover story in the March issue of Pf Magazine here.


George Michael

When George Michael died on Christmas Day, we were left with an incredible legacy of music and, of course, ‘Last Christmas’ echoing tragically in our ears. But then, in the following days, anecdotes of extraordinary and highly secretive generosity began to emerge. These weren’t ‘careless whispers’, but real stories about real people. In typically classy style, George had not only donated millions to countless charities throughout his life, but had also covertly helped strangers in ways that brought fresh tears to eyes already bleary with sadness.

 

Here’s how George brightened lives beyond his dulcet tones:

The Terence Higgins Trust: The former Wham star lost his partner, Anselmo Feleppa, to AIDS in 1993, and for many years donated experiences and gifts to the charity, enabling it to raise funds and help support people living with HIV. He also donated the royalties from ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me’, his 1991 duet with Elton John. Head of Major Gifts and Special Events at the organisation, Jane Barron, said: “His donations contributed to a vision of a world where people living with HIV live healthy lives, free from prejudice and discrimination.”

Sport Relief: George pledged thousands to David Walliams, when the comic swam the English Channel in 2006. After George died, the comedian tweeted: “There are lots of stories about #GeorgeMichael’s legendary generosity emerging today. When I swam the Channel he gave @sportrelief £50,000.”

Childline: Childline founder, Dame Esther Rantzen, revealed how George generously gifted the royalties from his 1996 hit ‘Jesus to a Child’ to the charity, which amounted to just a portion of the millions he donated. Childline recently unveiled plans to hold a star-studded performance in 2017, honouring George’s generosity, and coinciding with the charity’s 30th anniversary. Esther Rantzen said: “George helped us reach out to hundreds of thousands of children through his generosity.”

Personal donations

Pointless presenter Richard Osman told the story of how – when he was working on Noel Edmond’s Deal or No Deal – a contestant told them she needed £15,000 for IVF treatment. “George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the £15k,” Richard recalled.

Played a free Christmas concert in honour of the nurses who cared for his dying mother

Sent 1000 free concert tickets to hospital workers who treated him for pneumonia

Set up a trust which gave grants to support the rights of disabled children & adults

 

Camp sight: Alan Carr

Chat show host and comedian Alan Carr spreads not only laughter, but also goodwill to many charitable causes. Last year Carr became a patron of Neuroblastoma UK, which supports research to find new, more effective and kinder treatments for children diagnosed with this aggressive childhood cancer. He also supports children’s charity Variety, providing his trademark irreverent humour to their events, while also playing a significant role in raising the charity’s profile in important funding bids.

 

Money spinner: James Corden

The big-hearted TV, film and Broadway star, who began his rise to fame with Gavin and Stacey and can currently be seen hosting The Late Late Show, in the US, has never shied away from sharing his good fortune. The long-time host of the BRIT Awards once gave his £50,000 presenting fee to Comic Relief and – along with other celebrities – provided the sound of himself breathing over a backing track for a music video created by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. It would also be fitting to remember Corden’s unforgettable Comic Relief appearance, as his Gavin and Stacey creation, Smithy, in a beat-up Volvo, singing along to George Michael, accompanied by the man himself.
The skit was the precursor to the now world-famous ‘Carpool Karaoke’ segment on Corden’s show and yet another reminder that George Michael was not just an incredible singer,
but a quite remarkable human being.

 

Mind craft: Ruby Wax

Self-confessed ‘poster girl for mental illness’ Ruby Wax is a advocate for mental health, having suffered from crippling depression for many years. As an ambassador for mental health charity, Mind, she has been vocal about her history of depression. Ruby's one-woman stage show, Losing It, toured mental health hospitals for free. She also created the ‘Black Dog Tribe’, working with the charity SANE to create a safe community for people suffering from depression in which they could share experiences.

  

Potter gold: JK Rowling

JK Rowling’s legendary charitable nature once led to her being knocked off the Forbes World's Billionaires list. Rowling has donated millions to a number of causes through her charitable trust, ‘Volant’, which supports causes such as the Catie Hoch Foundation, Children with AIDS, Dyslexia Action, the Make A Child Smile Appeal and the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The creator of the Harry Potter books, who used to write in an Edinburgh café with her baby daughter, to escape her poverty, once said: “You have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.”

 

Elton John

In response to watching many friends – including Freddie Mercury – suffer and die from HIV/AIDS, George Michael’s dear pal Elton John set up the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF) in the US, in 1992, and the UK in 1993. The organisation has grown into one of the largest, most respected and dynamic charities in the field. Elton ceaselessly champions the cause through leveraging his fame to raise awareness and funds – holding post-Grammy and Oscar parties as fundraisers, and opening his home to legions of celebrities every year for the famed ‘White Tie and Tiara’ ball. In 2016, the EJAF offered to finance HIV testing in the London borough of Lambeth, which is the UK local authority with the highest rate of HIV. He also gives large amounts of his personal fortune to charity.

READY FOR LOVE: the Elton John Foundation in numbers

£122 million raised

1049 projects supported

Seventh largest philanthropic funder of HIV

  

Net worth: Cristiano Ronaldo

He may be better known for his ball skills and giant ego, but footballer Ronaldo has a considerable heart too. He’s always been onside when it comes to sharing his estimated £120 million fortune with those less fortunate than himself. Notable examples include paying for experimental drugs for nine-year-old Real Madrid fan, Nuhazet Guillen, who was suffering from cancer of the spine. Meanwhile, he also responded to a plea from the parents of a 10-month-old baby boy, Erik Ortiz Cruz, who needed a life-saving brain operation. They asked him to donate a football shirt and boots to an auction, in order to raise funds for the £50,000 operation. Ronaldo paid for the operation and the further treatment.

 

Sweet dreams: Annie Lennox

Since amassing a fortune with 80s chart-busters Eurythmics, and later as a solo artist, singing superstar Annie Lennox has changed lives with her ceaseless altruism. When she heard Nelson Mandela describe the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa as a ‘genocide’, she became an activist for the cause. She went on to found the Annie Lennox Foundation and was honoured with the British Red Cross’ Services to Humanity Award in 2008. She is most well-known for her tireless work to raise awareness of the deadly impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa. In 2007, she created the SING campaign, which raises global awareness about the impact of HIV on women and children, in particular in South Africa, Malawi and the UK. She has also been appointed UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador.

 

The key of life: Alicia Keys

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys is an ambassador for Keep A Child Alive – a charity which provides life-saving anti-retroviral treatment to children and their families with HIV/AIDS in Africa and the developing world. She regularly visits Africa to speak with children who have lost their parents to AIDS and has also played at the New Jersey Live Earth, the Philadelphia Live 8 concerts and in events held for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

 

Accounts office: Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais is a passionate supporter of animal rights, as well as giving generously to cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support – raising around £1million for the charity by donating the profits from a series of warm-up shows. He likes a laugh and famously donated £1000 to Great Ormond Street Hospital after daring Gary Lineker – in a tweet – to use the football cliché, ‘it was a game of two halves’, during Match of the Day coverage of a quarter-final clash between the Czech Republic and Portugal. Lineker sportingly obliged. He is also an avid supporter of many other causes, including the Teenage Cancer Trust, Prostate Cancer UK and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, as well as Comic Relief, for which he filmed a spoof African appeal for ‘Red Nose Day’ and brought back The Office legend David Brent, who was seen strumming a guitar to Brent’s protest song, Equality Street.   

 

 

 

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