Roz Bekker, managing director, Janssen UK (soon to be rebranded to Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine), emphasises the need to stand together to make sure the ecosystem works in the best way it can, so that we leave no patient waiting
It’s safe to say that improving patient outcomes is something that we’re all here to do, wherever we sit in the evolving UK healthcare ecosystem. From doctors and nurses to patient advocacy groups, clinical commissioners, payers and pharmaceutical companies: we’re here to optimise patients’ disease management, clinical outcomes and quality of life.
With more than 1.3 million people a day using the NHS1, it’s more important than ever that we partner across the ecosystem to cultivate a joint working approach. Whether that’s by providing access to life-changing medicines or to health services, we’ve all got a connected part to play.
Providing 584,000 jobs and 18 per cent of all research and development investment across the economy2, the UK life science industry brings huge clinical and patient insight. This makes it well placed to go beyond its focus on treatment innovation and to collaborate on joint solutions that could reduce pinch point pressures and optimise the patient pathway.
I am determined that we continue to embrace our responsibility to effect real change in support of unmet patient needs across the UK healthcare ecosystem. From removing barriers to diagnosis to reducing hospital admissions and delivering care at home, joint working across the healthcare ecosystem remains a key strategy for industry to continue delivering on.
At Janssen, it starts with reviewing and understanding the end-to-end patient experience to build a holistic picture. Prioritising the patient perspective is woven through the core of our company and our dedicated teams seek to engage service users to better understand and meet their needs. It is these lived experiences which inspire us to advance the quality of human health and guides our conversations with partners at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. After all, how can we make decisions and advocate for patients without the patient’s voice?
Having worked as a clinician and within industry across multiple regions and therapeutic areas, I’ve witnessed and understood the unique challenges that patients and regulators face across ever-shifting medical landscapes.
Understanding every stakeholder’s challenges, concerns and hopes is key to developing mutually beneficial solutions; the importance of this to a healthy UK population cannot be understated
With greater autonomy for integrated care systems emerging across the UK, local health services need additional support to deliver efficient care and services. Our teams are working closely with them to identify patients who would most benefit from patient-centric services and partner with their care providers to deliver the support they need as quickly as possible.
One such example highlighted by clinicians was the considerable time burden of blood tests. Understanding this, Janssen set up and funded the positive intervention of home blood collection services for patients that had already been identified as suitable for treatment, helping to accelerate the start of their prescribed treatment, as well as reduce the pressure on the NHS.
Similarly, some patients living with chronic diseases need regular injections; we have found that patients want to be empowered to have these at a time and place which suits them. Based on this insight, training is now funded for suitable patients and carers to self-inject, enabling patients to live with their conditions in the best way they can, while helping to reduce the burden for local health services.
Understanding every stakeholder’s challenges, concerns and hopes is key to developing mutually beneficial solutions; the importance of this to a healthy UK population cannot be understated.
If I think about the next three years, we are at a watershed moment and must continue to use our resources and expertise to support broader systemic change. While I am pleased that the government and industry have been able to work closely together to arrive at a new voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing, access, and growth (VPAG); we must ask ourselves if we have the right policies in place to facilitate and encourage investment in the kind of transformative treatments – old and new – that have the potential to change patients’ lives and preserve critical resources for the NHS and social care system for years to come.
Ultimately, as we continue to be bold in pushing boundaries and paving the way for new patient-centred innovations, we all need to stand together to make sure the ecosystem works in the best way it can, so that we leave no patient waiting, wherever they are.
This article was produced and paid for by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
Job number: CP-429661
Date: January 2024
1 NHS England. NHS in numbers today. Available here. Last accessed September 2023.
2 The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. Life Sciences Superpower: Growing the Leading Hub in the UK: Key Messages. Available here. Last accessed September 2023.