Executive Vice President, Accord Healthcare
New approaches could help patients on their cancer journey. These range from adapting therapies for patients’ convenience, changing delivery methods, designing longer-lasting treatments and offering remote support via digital apps to reduce hospital visits.
Senior figure Paul Tredwell believes the pharmaceutical industry has a critical role to play in offering broader support to patients as they live with cancer.
A key element of that process is gaining a better understanding of the challenges patients face. He points to the example of people unable to get to the hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic and how changes to treatment pathways and drug delivery could help isolated patients going forward.
“That may be a formulation change or making something that was intravenous or injected into a tablet to make it more convenient for the patient to take,” says Tredwell.
Better industry understanding, he continues, is gained from speaking to healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patient groups who can feed back on what is important to them in the treatment journey and where challenges exist with current options.
Tredwell is Executive Vice President (EMENA) for Accord Healthcare, which is one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in Europe and one of the largest suppliers of pharmaceuticals to the NHS. They have over 40 oncology-related treatments and are also one of the biggest suppliers of chemotherapy in Europe.
“We supply a third of all the injectable oncology treatments in Europe, so that is a responsibility we take incredibly seriously,” he says. An ongoing challenge in chemotherapy lies in ensuring patients get the right dose and complete their treatment to ensure the best outcome.
“It is about tailoring treatment around a patient’s needs,” he says.
We will keep innovating and bringing forward new developments that may help patients at their point of need.
Digital app for patients
Empowering a patient with knowledge and understanding of their condition is important and may improve treatment adherence and outcomes. This can increasingly be delivered with digital tools.
Accord contributed to this with the launch of an oncology patient support app — Unify Health — in July 2021. The app contains specialised content from a world-leading cancer centre, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, a digital health startup focusing on cancer, Care Across, and trusted and reputable cancer charity, Macmillan Cancer Support. It offers support and advice to people to aid their physical and mental wellbeing while undergoing cancer treatment.
The Unify Health app, which is available to patients in the UK, provides accurate and easily accessible information to people on their phones or tablets, in a format they can use. It also links them with local pharmacies if they have specific questions or concerns.
“As such an established provider in oncology, we endeavour to support patients through their journey and we feel that digital is increasingly an important medium to give patients that information,” says Tredwell.
In the last five years, Accord has increasingly shifted its emphasis toward speciality medicines, including a strong focus on oncology.
Besides its 40 plus oncology-related treatments, it has a further 15 molecules in near-term development, several of which it hopes will become available within the next three to five years.
A new research and development laboratory under construction in London will focus on the “more complex end of the pharmaceutical sector” of biologics and vaccines.
Accord will invest £100 million in the UK over the next two years and is underlining a commitment to UK manufacturing with its sites in Fawdon, Newcastle and Barnstaple, Devon, supplying around 11% of UK drugs. They are also developing several new paediatric oncology products and investing in the manufacturing of plasma-derived products, which can currently be difficult to access globally.
Tredwell says, “We will keep innovating and bringing forward new developments that may help patients at their point of need to support them across their cancer journey. Our ambition at Accord is to ‘make it better.'”