By Jamie Mullen, MD, Executive Director, Clinical Development, AstraZeneca
This entry is the second of a two-part series focusing on mental health awareness. The first entry, providing background on Mental Health Month and the impact of mental health disorders can be found here.
Since 1949, May has been designated Mental Health Month, providing an opportunity to increase education and awareness around mental illness.
AstraZeneca has been committed to the mental health space for over 50 years. Our efforts range from helping raise awareness for mental health conditions and the need for patient access to treatment and services to developing treatment options that help patients manage mental health conditions.
And yet, we know that we can’t do it alone. AstraZeneca recognizes and supports the important work being done by groups including the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare that strive to provide support and services for patients with and physicians who treat mental illnesses.
There is more to be done. AstraZeneca continues to look to the science to help discover and bring to bear treatment options in neuroscience – including neurology, pain and psychiatry. Earlier this year we created a new unit in Boston that allows our scientists to tap into the best available external science while sharing cost, risk and reward with other research partners active in the field.
You can learn more about AstraZeneca’s focus on neuroscience and other key areas of interest for innovation here. For more information about Mental Health Month.
By Jamie Mullen, MD, Executive Director, Medical Affairs and Strategic Development, AstraZeneca
This is the first in a two-part series of entries focusing on mental health awareness. Today’s post provides background on Mental Health Month and the impact of mental health disorders.
May is Mental Health Month – established by Mental Health America, this is a time to focus on the importance and need to increase awareness and education surrounding mental illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that about 25 percent of adults in the United States have a mental illness, and nearly 50 percent of US adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime. There are a number of mental illnesses, including conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
This year’s theme – Pathways to Wellness – focuses on the need to educate people on how to improve overall mental health. Additionally, Mental Health Month events and activities hope to equip people with tools to manage mental health conditions, as well as discuss the impact mental illness has on a person’s quality of life.
As a medical professional with more than 25 years of psychiatry experience, I’ve seen firsthand the challenges one can face while living with a mental illness. These include stigmatization, inequitable access to health care and medications, changed roles in the family and the workplace, a sense of isolation, impaired functioning, and uncertainty about the future. With more than 1 in 4 American having mental illness, it is important to take the opportunity to continue to raising awareness for the overall importance of improving mental health.
For more information about Mental Health Month.
For more than 50 years, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergic diseases through education, advocacy and research. This dedication is most evident every May, which the organization declares as “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.”
AstraZeneca urges Americans to embrace National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month and to learn more about the impact these diseases can have on people’s lives.
Approximately 25 million Americans, including 7 million children, suffer from asthma. The number of people who are affected by this chronic disease, which affects the airways and lungs, is increasing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the last 10 years the proportion of people living with asthma in the United States has grown by nearly 15 percent.
Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States and impact more than 50 million Americans each year. Indoor allergens are one type of trigger that can affect an individual’s asthma. Triggers can cause asthma symptoms or lead to an attack. It is important to note these triggers, which include second hand smoke, dust mites, mold, pets and outdoor air pollution.
While May is the dedicated month for asthma and allergy awareness, AstraZeneca, the AAFA and other advocacy groups across the nation work to bring awareness to the many Americans who suffer from asthma and allergies throughout the year.
There are steps that individuals can take to control their asthma through appropriate care. To access helpful asthma resources, including information on asthma triggers and steps that may help prevent asthma attacks, visit the EPA’s website .
To learn more about National Asthma and Allergy Awareness month and to see how you can be involved this May, visit www.aafa.org
PhRMA launches a new campaign called “i am science.”
PhRMA, our industry’s trade association, launched a new initiative this week called “i am science,” aimed at introducing the people who are working daily to discover the next generation of medicines.
PhRMA President & CEO John Castellani explains:
As an industry, we need to do a better job of telling our story – who we are, what we believe in, and why the work we are doing is so important. If we don’t, we will continue to be misunderstood and the full value of innovative medicines may not be recognized.
A good starting point is to put a spotlight on biopharmaceutical scientists who every day work hard to discover and research new potential medicines to help improve and save millions of patients’ lives.
After all, scientists are the heart and soul of the biopharmaceutical enterprise. Without scientists, our industry – and the life-saving therapies it develops – would cease to exist. …
The good news is that through a new initiative called “I AM SCIENCE”, we are bringing the scientists to your living room, office, classrooms and just about anywhere there is Internet access so that you can meet those who are responsible for developing transformative medicines that can help you, a family member or a friend fight disease.
Click on over and have a look at the initiative, along with videos of scientists telling their stories.
AstraZeneca is proud to be a part of a new coalition, Prescriptions for a Healthy America: A Partnership for Advancing Medication Adherence, aimed at developing, promoting, and helping enact policy solutions to improve medicine adherence nationwide.
Prescriptions for a Healthy America is a partnership of patient, health care providers, pharmacy organizations, consumers, and health care industry leaders whose goal is to develop near-term policy solutions to improve medication adherence.
According to a new national survey commissioned by the Partnership for a Healthy America, two-thirds of Americans are not adhering to their prescribed medication regimen.
Medication adherence means that patients are taking their medications at the times, dosages, frequencies, and direction prescribed. Failure to do so results in negative health effects for patients and reduced effectiveness of treatment regimens.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that hospital admissions resulting strictly from poor medication adherence costs the United States $100 billion per year.
For more information on the partnership and to help ensure your voice is heard, please visit http://www.adhereforhealth.org.
Watch as Chris Yochim, director of external relations at AstraZeneca, discusses efforts to promote collaboration between industry and academia at the BIO 2013 International Convention in Chicago.
For the eighth consecutive year, AstraZeneca has received the prestigious CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ accreditation. This status recognizes a company’s significant commitment to helping employees and their families with cancer prevention, early detection and access to quality care.
As one of the first six companies to receive this accreditation in 2006, AstraZeneca is fully committed to providing a healthy workplace to our employees. Some examples of workplace programs include on-site fitness centers and walking/running paths, nutritious options in cafeterias and vending machines and on-site breast, prostate and skin cancer screenings.
In the past 20 years, more than 12,000 mammograms were performed on-site at AstraZeneca and 49 malignancies identified in early stages that allowed for successful treatment outcomes. In 1989, AstraZeneca purchased its first x-ray mammography system to screen its employees. In 2013, the company purchased a leading-edge digital mammography system to provide its people the most advanced breast cancer screening technology available.
AstraZeneca’s 2013 reaccreditation is based on our ongoing promotion of employee cancer-prevention initiatives and our “remarkable dedication and commitment to maintaining this high standard of excellence,” notes Dr. Martin J. Murphy, convener & CEO of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer.
The Gold Standard was created by The CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by cancer-fighter CEOs in response to the former President George H. W. Bush’s challenge that they be “bold and venturesome” in the fight against this disease.
To learn more, visit the CEO Cancer Gold Standard website.
2540702 Last Updated 4/13/13
AstraZeneca helped patients save $1.2 billion through its prescription savings programs in 2012.
AstraZeneca announced today that it helped 562,000 patients save $1.2 billion on nearly 4.6 million free prescriptions through its AZ&Me Prescription Savings programs in 2012.
See the table below for details on how many patients in each state received free medicines from AstraZeneca through the programs.
“At AstraZeneca, we believe it is not enough to simply make medicines,” said Jennifer McGovern, Director, Patient Assistance Programs. “We work with patients and caregivers to help make sure that people who need our medicines have access to them – including by providing them free to qualifying patients under our prescription savings programs.”
AstraZeneca’s prescription savings programs include:
- AZ&Me Prescription Savings program for people without insurance: AstraZeneca medicines are provided at no cost to qualifying individuals without prescription drug coverage and who have an annual income at or below $35,000 for an individual or $70,000 for a family of four.
- AZ&Me Prescription Savings program for people with Medicare Part D: AstraZeneca medicines are provided at no cost to qualifying individuals enrolled in Medicare Part D and who have an annual income at or below $35,000 for an individual or $48,000 for a couple.
- AZ&Me Prescription Savings program for healthcare facilities: AstraZeneca medicines are provided in bulk at no cost to qualifying nonprofit organizations, such as disproportionate share hospitals, community health centers, and community free clinics that have an on-site, nonretail, outpatient licensed pharmacy or dispensary. Qualifying individuals without prescription drug coverage, through private insurance or government programs, and who have an annual income at or below $35,000 for an individual or $70,000 for a family of four may obtain their AstraZeneca medicines for free from these facilities.
Here are state by state details (click on the state name to see the full news release for that state):
Steven Davis, Executive Director, Foundation Brands, Cornerstone, recently spoke with Pharmaphorum about our commitment to providing patients with treatment options and affordable access to brand-name ARIMIDEX® (anastrozole).
We believe this is an important way for AstraZeneca to help meet customer needs in the US. Direct To Patient is about choice. It is about giving patients the choice to have the branded product. It may also help the physicians with fewer access-related hassles in prescribing brand-name ARIMIDEX.
Davis also highlighted the progress of the ARIMIDEX Direct patient program since its launch one year ago – and the motivation behind its foundation:
AstraZeneca develops many programs based on the specific needs of the patient and our business. ARIMIDEX lost patent exclusivity in 2010. Patients had called the AstraZeneca Information Center asking how they could get ARIMIDEX more affordably. AstraZeneca conducted research that confirmed that since ARIMIDEX has gone generic, many health care plans are no longer covering brand-name ARIMIDEX. Further, the price for generic anastrozole varies by retailer. ARIMIDEX Direct is a responsive program for patients electing to receive and pay for the brand ARIMIDEX on their own.
ARIMIDEX Direct allows eligible patients to get brand-name ARIMIDEX delivered to their door for $40 or less a month. To date, over 1,400 patients are using ARIMIDEX Direct.
The full Pharmaphorum article can be viewed here.
By Rachelle Benson
Rare Disease Day is an international advocacy day to raise awareness of rare diseases as a global health challenge.
Thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Orphan Drug Act (ODA), named for its focus on orphan—or rare—diseases.
Individuals with rare diseases—more than 25 million in the US alone—may have struggled to obtain a proper diagnosis, find information, and get treatment due to the rarity of their conditions and lack of relevant medical research. With its approval in 1983, however, the ODA encouraged companies to develop medicines and diagnostic tools for rare diseases by providing financial incentives.
Between 1973 and 1983, less than 10 products for rare diseases were developed without government assistance. Since the Orphan Drug Act was enacted, more than 400 orphan products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). With the help of patient advocacy organizations, especially the National Organization for Rare Disorders, advances have been made in areas such as research, legislation, and patient support.
Even with recent developments, however, there are approximately 6800 rare diseases that do not have an FDA-approved therapy. AstraZeneca is committed to fighting rare diseases through ongoing research, and in fact, AstraZeneca achieved FDA approval on its first orphan drug in 2011. We encourage you to join us by participating in Rare Disease Day on February 28. For more information, please visit http://rarediseaseday.us