Author Archives: Tom Hushen

AZ supports IOM call for federal supply chain solution

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released a report assessing the global public health implications of falsified, substandard, and counterfeit pharmaceuticals to help begin an international conversation about the problem.

The report lays out a plan to improve public health, including a call for the World Health Organization to develop international guidelines for monitoring and regulating fake drugs, as well as for states to improve licensing requirements for drug wholesalers and distributors.

As a member of the Pharmaceutical Distribution Security Alliance (PDSA), a coalition of more than 25 pharmacies, distributors, logistic operators, manufacturers and associations committed to strengthening the nation’s pharmaceutical distribution supply chain, AstraZeneca supports a federal supply chain solution, including:

  • Long overdue federal uniform standard on drug traceability to ensure greater patient safety
  • Solutions that are cost-efficient and meet the needs of individual

The PDSA issued a statement responding to the IOM report, in part saying:

“The Pharmaceutical Distribution Security Alliance applauds the Institute of Medicine for recognizing that new legislation is needed to protect all Americans from the threat of counterfeit drugs. PDSA is particularly pleased that the IOM recognized that the supply chain can only be as strong as its weakest link and that a national solution is a necessary safeguard.  As the IOM report noted, to prevent fake drugs from ending up in patients’ hands, Congress should pass legislation that creates a national system for drug distribution security.”

We applaud Congress’ interest and encourage action early this year.

AZ ranks 2nd on top 50 companies for female executives

NAFE 2013The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) recently named AstraZeneca second on the top 50 companies for female executives. This is the fifth consecutive year that AstraZeneca has made the list.

NAFE recognizes organizations for policies and practices that encourage women’s advancement, and in particular, the number of women holding executive positions in the business.

Within AstraZeneca, women lead key teams and functions, including the executive vice president, human resources and corporate affairs; vice president, global compliance strategy and assurance; vice president, human resources, US; vice president, sales and marketing, Cornerstone brands; and vice president, sales and marketing, Growth brands. All US-based women representing US or global functions were considered in the total submission on behalf of AstraZeneca.

“Our goal is to continue to strengthen and diversify our workforce, including women, to ultimately reach their career goals and aspirations,” said Deb Kauffman, Vice President, Human Resources, US. “This recognition showcases AstraZeneca’s ongoing commitment to ensuring we have the talent required to drive a successful business.”

AstraZeneca offers programs that contribute to a supportive working culture for women, including:

  • Career development and mentoring programs, including support for women’s advancement
  • Diverse employee network groups, including the “AZ Network of Women”
  • Work/life resource and employee assistance programs providing confidential, personal support, resources and referrals to help solve a wide range of personal and work-related challenges

What AZ looks for in a licensing partner

AZ's Shaun Grady, VP, Strategic Partnering & Business Development.

AZ’s Shaun Grady, VP, Strategic Partnering & Business Development.

A recent PharmaPhorum post explored the process through which AstraZeneca approaches potential external opportunities via an interview with Shaun Grady, VP, Strategic Partnering & Business Development at AstraZeneca.

During a one-on-one interview, Grady was asked what AZ looks for in a licensing partner:

It all starts with strategy. We have made partnering or ‘externalization’ firmly part of the corporate strategy. We take that strategic intent, and we develop strategies for our early discovery and early development parts of the business, which in AstraZeneca are called iMeds, that’s Innovative Medicine Units. There are five iMeds for small molecules. There is also our MedImmune large molecule biologics business. Then we have the phase III later stage part of the business which is called Global Medicines Development. For each of those areas we then develop a business development strategy, and a ranked list of targets that we would like to secure and bring into the business.

The question of what we look for in a partner is very much dependent upon the specific area of the business that you’re working in. It’s very much tailored to the fit whether it’s a platform technology in the early phases of our activity, or if we’re looking for a product to commercialize in emerging markets for example.

There is no one type of partner, in fact it’s a very rich and diverse mix of different partners, depending on what it is that you’re trying to achieve. We actually pride ourselves in tailoring the deals that we do to fit the requirements and identity of the partner, and the particular subject matter of the agreement. We’ve conducted deals in a whole variety of types and shapes, whether it’s licensing, or acquisition, or risk share, or collaboration, because we firmly believe that no two deals are alike, and the trick is to find the deal that fits the needs of the partner and the needs of AstraZeneca.

AZ is collaborating with leading academic institutions and pre-competitive research consortiums, seeking high-quality partnerships and business development opportunities to tap into the best science available externally, to grow and enhance our portfolio.

Grady goes on to discuss what disease and treatment areas AZ is most interested in, the engagement process itself, and past partnerships that have been successful. To read more, visit the PharmaPhorum’s post.

To learn more about partnering with AstraZeneca, visit http://www.astrazeneca-us.com/about-us/partnering.

Del. community leaders gather for Mentoring Works Summit

IM40 logo

The YHP uses 40 assets from the Search Institute as building blocks for youth development.

In honor of National Mentoring Month, community leaders from across Delaware met today for the fourth annual “Mentoring Works” Summit. By encouraging potential mentors to become involved in young people’s lives, the summit is strengthening a statewide support system to help young people succeed in school, work and life.

“You don’t know who you’re going to touch. You don’t know who you’re going to impact. You don’t know who you’re going to develop unless you reach out to our young people,” Ty Jones, AstraZeneca’s Director External Affairs, told the group.

This week, the Delaware News Journal profiled two such young people – brothers growing up on the East Side of Wilmington. A target area for the Young Health Program, the East Side of Wilmington is a dangerous environment with limited recreational opportunities for youths like Quinton Dorsey and Zaiair Miller Johnson. Quinton and Zaiair are being raised by their grandmother Deborah Cleveland.

Nearly 15 percent of the 26,000 children living on the East Side are between 10 and 19 years old, and most are being cared for by single mothers or grandparents.

From the News Journal story:

One-third of East Side families live below the poverty line, and more than two-thirds are on food stamps. Unemployment has reached 19 percent there, and most of the kids, like Quinton and Zaiair, are on free or reduced lunch at school; some rarely, if ever, eat a healthy meal at home.

And even school can be a challenge. Zaiair is a fifth-grader at Stubbs Elementary School, where he said fights routinely break out. Quinton said he and the rest of his class at Moyer Academy, where he is in the eighth grade, are failing English because they can’t do their work. The teacher spends more time trying to gain control of the chaotic classroom than she does teaching.

Both schools are predominantly low-income and minority.

Shawn Allen is a community activist who serves as a mentor for Quinton and Zaiair. Allen says the community no longer is involved in helping to raise neighborhood children. There’s no longer the sense of village on the East Side that there once was.

The Young Health Program is developing a way to train more mentors, like Allen, throughout the state, including such places as schools and community centers.

For more on Quinton and Zaiair’s story, you can access an app on the News Journal’s site that hosts videos of youths including Quinton and Zaiair, read their stories, view an interactive map of the state of Delaware and take the “40 Assets” test.

Photos from today’s event can be viewed on the Young Health Program’s IM:40 Facebook page.

Del. News Journal launches five-part series on YHP

The Del. News Journal has launched an app where you can follow the stories of young people throughout the state of Delaware.

The Del. News Journal has launched an app where you can follow the stories of young people throughout the state of Delaware.

The Delaware News Journal recently launched a five-part series on the implementation of the AstraZeneca Young Health Program: IM40 throughout the state of Delaware. In partnership with the United Way of Delaware, the initiative promotes positive youth development and healthy behaviors for at-risk adolescents.

The News Journal introduced the series by noting:

  • AstraZeneca has partnered with the United Way to start a movement in Delaware it hopes will serve as a national model to help young people prosper by filling in the gaps of their development, whether it be social, health or educational.
  • Over the next two years, The News Journal and delawareonline.com will follow these youth and others like them as the program blossoms and the community learns to provide the support they need to fulfill their potential.

In the coming days, we will be highlighting some of the News Journal’s stories, including the profiles of young people from Wilmington, Kent and Sussex counties.

On the News Journal’s website, you can access an app that hosts videos of profiles on young participants, read their stories, view an interactive map of the state of Delaware and take the “40 Assets” test.

To learn about YHP: IM40, take a moment and visit www.im40.org. The recently launched site allows youth, parents, teachers and community leaders to navigate the site separately so each group receives the information that is most relevant to them.

You also can get updates by liking YHP: IM40 on Facebook and Twitter.

AZ and the American Lung Association raise awareness of the debilitating effects of Asthma

This entry is part of a series focusing on some of the charitable organizations AstraZeneca is working with in Delaware that are making a meaningful, measurable difference to improve the health of our communities and those who live in them. Previous entries can be found here and here and here.  

Today’s entry explores the American Lung Association, an organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. 

The average person takes more than 20,000 breaths each day. But for those suffering from the effects of asthma, some of those breaths don’t come as easily as others.

The American Lung Association reports that asthma affects over 7 million children. However, with correct care and attention, these debilitating effects can be managed.

The American Lung Association has dedicated itself to providing research support and training to educate school personnel, health care providers and families on how to improve asthma care for children. They have also facilitated asthma-care partnerships and supported numerous events to show how correctly treating serious asthma symptoms can make all the difference.

One such event, “Breathe Well, Live Well,” consists of a series of workshops that help build knowledge of the factors that exacerbate and ameliorate asthma. This workshop also helps develop self-management skills in controlling symptoms. Through collaboration with AstraZeneca, trained facilitators were able to offer these workshops in a variety of different locations. AstraZeneca funding also helped the American Lung Association support another important program called the Better Breathers Club, a group for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“As the oldest health-related non-profit organization in the country, the ALA works tirelessly to improve lung health by offering a number of programs throughout the state that are designed to help people quit smoking, learn to live with and control their asthma, prevent children from smoking, and many other lung health problems,” Chantal Fields, Vice President of Mission at the American Lung Association, said. “Our partnership with AstraZeneca helps us to reach these prevention goals.”

AstraZeneca is committed to health care that works. The American Lung Association’s work in promoting asthma awareness and treatment is truly commendable, and we are proud to partner with an organization which is striving to make a meaningful difference in patient health.

For more information on AstraZeneca’s work with the American Lung Association and other nonprofit organizations and to download our 2011 Corporate Contributions Report, click here.

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Our Commitment to Cancer Research

AstraZeneca will be at the 2012 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium this week.

AstraZeneca will be at the 2012 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium this week.

By Yuri Rukazenkov, MD, Medical Science Director, AstraZeneca

This week, I will join a global team of AstraZeneca employees in Texas for the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS). This annual meeting is a chance for the scientific, academic, clinician, and patient communities to interact and exchange research and information that helps us better understand and develop treatment options for breast cancer.

At SABCS, AstraZeneca will be presenting six studies around breast cancer treatment research, including updated results from a previously reported phase III study.

But each year in San Antonio, and each day at AstraZeneca, the patients, advocates, and researchers that we meet serve as reminders to how much more we can and must do to meet the needs of the breast cancer community.

While advances in treatment and detection have been made over the years, breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in women around the world and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among US women.

That’s why AstraZeneca is committed to continuing our more than 30-year history of researching, discovering, and developing medicines to fight cancer. We want to provide more resources and more medical research for people with metastatic breast cancer, a form of advanced breast cancer also referred to as stage IV breast cancer that is diagnosed when cancer has spread from the breast to other parts of the body and is generally not curable.

Recently, we launched FALCON, a new global study for some patients with advanced or metastatic breast cancer. And while our current focus is on researching treatments for metastatic breast cancer, the area where we believe patient need is currently the greatest, AstraZeneca has a long heritage in breast cancer and is committed to leading the way in developing and optimizing breast cancer therapies for all patient groups.

For more information about all of our ongoing clinical trials in the Unites States, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov

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AZ named top 100 military-friendly employer

AZ has been named a Top 100 Military Friendly Employer.

AstraZeneca has been named to the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers list by G.I. Jobs magazine for the first time. AstraZeneca is involved with various military groups nationwide that support and make a difference in the lives of our military men and women.

“At AstraZeneca, we have a strong commitment to support those with military experience,” AstraZeneca US Chief Operating Officer Marion McCourt said. “Individuals with a military background bring their unique experiences with them into the workforce. And we are privileged that they choose to work here and can share these experiences with us.”

In a ceremony at AstraZeneca commemorating Veteran’s Day, McCourt unveiled the Top 100 Military Friendly Employer banner. Also in attendance were Delaware Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, Delaware National Guard Adj, Gen. Francis D. Vavala; Col. Raymond Kozak, 512 Airlift Wing Commander, Dover Air Force Base; and David Nicoli, AstraZeneca’s vice president of Corporate Affairs in the United States.

One of the ways that AstraZeneca supports employees is through the AZ Military Support Employee Network Group (AZMS), which serves as a resource for employees who are in the Reserve Forces, have family members in the military, are veterans or have strong ties to troop-support. The members of AZMS offer assistance to those affected by their own former military service or their family’s military service. These individuals work together to improve the concept of community among employees with military ties.

AstraZeneca also participates in the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency and no-cost resource that recognizes supportive employers, informs service members and employers about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, and provides conflict mediation services.

AstraZeneca is actively inviting military veterans to join our US organization. We have recently launched a microsite designed for US military veterans transitioning from military life to the work force. The site provides the tools and information veterans need to transition from military life to a successful career with AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca donates $250,000 to American Red Cross

AstraZeneca, a proud partner of the American Red Cross, has contributed $250,000 to the organization’s 2012 disaster relief efforts, including helping those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The contribution is split between the national Red Cross and the Delmarva region Red Cross. The money goes toward the Red Cross’ Disaster Responder Program, which mobilizes volunteers and resources to provide food, clothing and shelter to people in need.

In response to Hurricane Sandy, the Red Cross has provided more than 23,000 overnight shelter stays since Saturday and deployed 2,300 workers to support relief efforts.

In addition to our corporate donation, we work with the Red Cross to enable our employees to provide personal donations through the Red Cross/AstraZeneca Employee Giving program – which is a secured online site for AZ employees that enables them to make donations in support of Red Cross relief and recovery efforts.

To learn more about the American Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org. To learn more about how we work with partners to ensure those impacted by natural disasters get the medicines they need, please click here.

2013 Medicare premiums steady as open enrollment begins

Time to talk Medicare: Open enrollment begins on October 15 and runs through December 7.

It’s that time of year again – open enrollment period for the Medicare program, allowing seniors and other beneficiaries to review, compare and update their health choices, including their prescription drug benefit.

Open enrollment begins today and lasts through Dec. 7.

And there’s good news for beneficiaries as they pick their plan: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says the average monthly Medicare prescription drug premium for 2013 will be $30 – virtually unchanged for the past three years and 50 percent lower than initial projections.

Since 2006, the Medicare prescription drug program has delivered market-based competition into government healthcare offerings for prescription drug coverage. These plans compete to deliver affordable coverage for beneficiaries and value for taxpayers.

And they have proven to be very popular.

As we discussed here, the 2012 Medicare Today beneficiary satisfaction survey found that overall satisfaction with the Medicare prescription drug benefit has increased from 78 percent to 90 percent since the program was first implemented. More than 40 million people with Medicare (90 percent of all beneficiaries) now have the option of comprehensive prescription drug coverage, which helps provide high-quality and high-value healthcare for America’s seniors.

We encourage Medicare beneficiaries to take the time to find the plan that is best for them and their health needs. There are many useful resources available to help enrollees evaluate coverage options and make informed decisions. People with Medicare can call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/ for more plan information.

Another helpful resource is My Medicare Matters, led by the National Coalition on Aging, that has a consumer-friendly Web site that takes one step by step through the decision-process and includes links to specific sections of the Medicare.gov website.

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