25 years of redefining health care for the Filipino patient

Throughout the company’s 125 years of global operations, and since it established its presence in the Philippines in 1995, MSD has been delivering health solutions to Filipinos, backed by pioneering research to advance the prevention and treatment of various health diseases through vaccination against life-threatening infections like HPV, Pneumonia, Measles, and Rota-Virus; treatment for cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, and anti-microbial resistance.

Maternal mortality is one of the many problems that MSD in the Philippines sees as a threat to the health and well-being not only of mothers, but also for their families and community. Through MSD for Mothers, the company engages in collaborative initiatives to improve maternal health. MSD for Mothers also partnered with the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) to improve maternal care in 20 Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) in Samar and Northern Samar provinces through the program dubbed “MSD for Mothers and ZFF Community Health Partnership: The Joint Initiative”.

The principle of “Inventing for Life” also takes into consideration the dignity and well-being of the patient. Through the Hope from Within (HFW), a multi-stakeholder cancer advocacy campaign, MSD aimed to raise awareness and strengthen the fight against the disease through education about early testing and new treatments such as Immunotherapy.“We are continually pushing the boundaries of science with the hope and expectation that the medicines and vaccines we invent will lead to better health for society for generations to come”, shared Dr. Beaver Tamesis, MSD in the Philippines President and Managing Director.

“We are constantly reinventing the way we reach out to patients, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders, as we aim to meet them where they are at the moment- the challenges and issues that matter.”

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MSD has been fully committed to developing an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic since it was first recognized. Cognizant of the fact that success will require global collaboration among countries and companies and more, it has participated in the global effort against COVID-19. The company continues to explore multiple pathways to advance understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and develop vaccines and treatments, including an expansive internal research program, and an announcement of two COVID-19 vaccine development efforts – a collaboration with IAVI and plans to acquire Themis. MSD also announced collaboration with Ridgeback Bio to develop a novel antiviral candidate.

While research on COVID-19 vaccine becomes a priority, MSD has the unique expertise and capabilities to advance multiple development programs for COVID-19 while continuing to advance its research priorities in oncology, vaccines, diabetes management and other areas to address the continued threats from other diseases.

Having paved the way for innovative healthcare solutions to the Philippines in the last 25 years, MSD looks forward to the next chapter of stronger collaborations, innovations and delivery of healthcare solutions for the Filipino patients.

“Our hope, and we have expressed this as part of the industry, is for government to work closely with research-based pharmaceutical companies in planning for and securing sustainable strategies for future public health emergencies, beyond this pandemic”, remarked Dr. Tamesis. “We ask that we make it more enticing for innovators to actually be present in the Philippines through a more predictable and supportive business and policy environment.”

(This story was first published in the Malaya Business Insight on Jan. 7, 2021)