Maintaining and expanding the number of people we can help with our treatments is our number one priority – it is fundamental to our success as a business, and integral to our character as a company. Improving access to healthcare globally is a significant challenge for society, particularly at a time when healthcare budgets are being put under increasing pressure as populations – and the needs of those populations – grow. This is particularly challenging in the area of specialist conditions and rare diseases, where treatments are often complex and expensive, and greater understanding of the conditions and their treatments is needed.
At its heart, access to medicines means ensuring that life-saving and life-improving treatments are available to the people who need them, especially those who would not otherwise be provided with them, or be able to afford them. Maintaining and expanding access to quality healthcare is a shared responsibility – many of these issues are for governments, regulators and payors to address, as they deal with the on-going challenges of providing effective healthcare to their populations. But as a researcher, developer and manufacturer of innovative therapies, we too have a part to play in improving access. The following principles frame our efforts to improve access to treatments:
- We believe that to sustain access to innovative treatments, there must be effective legislative frameworks in place, strong intellectual property protection, and an environment that sufficiently rewards and fuels innovation. We advocate for public policies that support improved access to healthcare and health innovations.
- We are committed to working with governments, payors, physicians, patient organizations and other healthcare stakeholders to encourage broad access to our commercially-available treatments. Where access is restricted to commercially available treatments, limited by affordability or hindered by geography, we have a responsibility to help.
- Fundamental to improving access to medicines for specialized and rare conditions is increasing awareness to improve the speed of diagnosis and treatment. We are committed to training and sharing our knowledge in a balanced, evidence-based manner.
- For those with rare and specialist conditions, improving access is in large part about continuing to focus on developing new treatments for unmet patient needs, where there is currently little hope. As a result, we view the development of drugs for rare and ultra-rare conditions, and treatments for other specialist conditions with significant unmet
needs, as a core responsibility in itself.
- Our responsibility to pursue novel treatments for unmet medical needs requires that we support strong clinical development programs. In general, we believe that participating in clinical trials is the best way for patients to access medicines prior to approval. In some circumstances, when efficacy and safety is sufficiently proven through clinical trials, we can work with regulatory agencies, patients and their physicians to obtain access prior to regulatory approval.
Shire is committed to fostering an environment that supports greater access to medicines and will continue developing new therapies that provide value to patients with unmet medical needs. Shire welcomes on-going opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogues to support this core responsibility.