Boosting the birth rate, chronicity management and sustainability are the major public health challenges that our National Health Service must face in order to continue to ensure universal access to services and treatments, by entering a new normality of coexistence with the Coronavirus. Challenges that go through a common denominator: Women’s Health! If it is true that 80% of women make decisions about the health of their loved ones and that, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), every dollar spent on women’s health represents 20 dollars in benefits economic, caring about women’s well-being means having all of civil society at heart, positively influencing the social and economic fabric of a country. As the European scenario is dominated by exploding energy costs, it is becoming increasingly urgent:
- reverse the downward trend in births which is weakening the generational balance and which will record a new negative record in 2022 with only 385,000 new births;
- address the growing impact of chronic non-communicable diseases, which affect 24 million Italians and absorb approximately 80% of the National Health Fund, paying particular attention to the gender perspective, since women come later to diagnosis and are less adherent to treatment;
- guarantee access to therapies able to combine quality and sustainable costs, as in the case of biosimilar medicines.
To draw attention to the centrality of the issue of health, it is Organon, the only global pharmaceutical company dedicated to the health of women in all phases of life, which, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the launch of his company, met all the main stakeholders – Institutions, Scientific Societies, Patient Associations and the media – during a scientific-institutional event dedicated to the major socio-health challenges of the years to come. As part of the event, the launch of the Her Promise ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) strategy is of great importance, which is the concrete and innovative response of Organon in its commitment to women’s health. A broad-based strategy to support women and girls around the world in their aspirations for well-being and to provide an innovative value proposition to protect their health and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The cornerstones of the sustainable development strategy are wider access to contraception, to prevent 120 million unwanted pregnancies worldwide by 2030, the fight against inequalities and gender parity also within the company, where nearly 50% of employees and 65% of the management team, as well as the “zero emissions” objective in the principles of the circular economy.
“They have been 12 months of great commitment but also very stimulating and very satisfying, in which we have achieved the objective of being the leading company in the field of women’s reproductive health also thanks to important partnership agreements. partnership that will allow us to respond effectively to multiple women’s health needs not yet fully met – says AlperAlptekin, President and CEO of Organon Italia – women’s health is a powerful indicator of a country’s prosperity and an engine of social well-being and economic growth and we are proud to have chosen it as our therapeutic priority area, in a broad vision that considers it the epicenter of the health of the whole community and therefore sees it equally linked to the major challenges related to chronicity and durability”. On the front of women’s health, the issue of birth and fertility is among those that have the most strong socio-economic impact. The trend of continued demographic decline could lead to a significant drop of 32% in GDP in 2070. The Covid emergency, which has led around two out of three couples to postpone the pregnancy project or even to give it up (Observatoire de la Jeunesse), exacerbated the problem, triggered by long-term factors: the absence of good family planning, the lack of information on contraception and the difficulties associated with timely access to fertility and reproductive methods medically assisted (PMA).
Data from a recent analysis called NERAD show that in our country, one in four pregnancies is unplanned and 50% of these pregnancies result in voluntary termination of pregnancy, with significant consequences for the woman’s psychophysical health. . Above all, the lack of information on the possible contraceptive choices and the almost total absence of educational programs on the subject which limit access to contraception and its conscious use, while the use of emergency contraception is increasing, which already in 2018 led 548,684 women to use this. Italy – as revealed by the latest European Atlas of Contraception compiled by the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) – ranks 22nd in Europe for access and information on contraception.
According to the research The state of the art and the training and information needs of Italian women in the field of contraception – conducted by DoxaPharma on a sample of one thousand Italian women between 18 and 40 years old and presented at the event – one in three Italian women of child-bearing age have never sought information about contraception from their gynecologist, while 48% have obtained information from the Internet. The consequence is that women rely above all on the options they know (hormonal pill and condom), while knowledge of non-daily contraceptive methods that can promote adherence to treatment by the woman, such as reversible contraceptives long-lasting, is still limited in action (LARC): almost half of women know little or nothing about the monthly vaginal ring and patch, and only 25% know about the long-lasting implant in the arm.
The scarcity of fertility-enhancing techniques is the other side of the obstacle course towards adequate family planning, which penalizes women in their life choices: 1/3 of ART treatments are performed in couples where the female partner has more 40 years, significantly reduce the treatment success rate, which goes from 21.6% for those under 35 to 4.1% for those over 43. , there are strong regional disparities, with a different distribution of public and private centers under agreement from North to South, long waiting lists, bureaucratic obstacles. An impetus towards the dissemination of assisted reproduction programs could come, as well as awareness campaigns on the issue of fertility and assisted reproduction techniques, also from the final approval of the inter-ministerial decree which standardizes the prices of assisted reproduction services on the whole national territory. These questions were the subject of discussions between representatives of the world of health, institutions, associations, within the framework of the Camerae Sanitatis project, the format promoted by the parliamentary intergroup Science & Health and Sics-Italian Society of Communication science and health, with the unconditional contribution of Organon Italia, which gave rise to “Recommendations” to identify the most useful and urgent actions to promote the recovery of the birth rate in Italy.
With the decline in the birth rate, the aging of the population is the factor that draws this “inverted pyramid” characterized by the prevalence in the population of the elderly (in Italy, a fifth of the population is over 65). One of the major consequences is the growing impact of chronic non-communicable diseases – such as cardiovascular diseases, dyslipidaemias, respiratory diseases, skin diseases, osteoporosis, osteoarticular diseases and migraines – responsible for 93 .3% of deaths. Among the 55 year olds, one out of two individuals suffers from at least one chronic disease, whereas in the population over 75 the incidence increases: 9 out of 10 people live with a chronic disease in this age group. which have the greatest impact in terms of lethality, with approximately 18 million deaths per year worldwide. Organon, through a diversified portfolio that also boasts therapeutic solutions of consolidated efficacy in the management of chronic diseases with high social impact, is a partner of institutions to improve the management of these diseases, taking into account all characteristics of the population, including gender differences, often underestimated.
In this perspective, Organon is supporting the WECARE (Women Effective CArdiovascular Risk Evaluation) study: a health technology assessment (HTA) analysis that involved approximately 850,000 patients with the aim of detecting possible treatment differences between male and female patients suffering from dyslipidemia and on whom emerge important aspects on which to intervene, such as the lower therapeutic observance of women compared to men in lipid-lowering therapies. The theme of chronicity is associated with that of sustainability, to ensure quality care for all patients who need it and at the same time reduce the financial burden on public health. One of the possible answers is offered by biosimilar drugs, biological drugs that are absolutely comparable to originator drugs in terms of quality, safety and efficacy, but at a lower cost.
To investigate the factors that can determine a sustainable and favorable regulatory “environment” for the development of biosimilars, Organon supported the creation of the Unlocking the Potential of Biosimilars report, an analysis that focuses on the current landscape of health policy on biosimilars in 17 countries, highlighting, for each country, the factors that determine success, inefficiency and risk areas, in order to define an “ideal” toolbox of recommendations to ensure long-term sustainability. With regard to the situation in Italy, in addition to positive aspects such as production standards, strictly similar to those of all other medicines and simplified approval procedures, which speed up access to biosimilars, critical issues such as those related to the choice of attribution have appeared. calls for tenders exclusively on the basis of price, an approach which does not take into account the HTA approach (for example the cost-effectiveness ratio and the introduction of quality criteria) and in fact triggers a race to the bottom of purchase price of biosimilars, which could discourage companies from making them increasingly available.