At GPC2018 I realized that multi-sectoral collaboration is the only way to solve the diverse health care issues we face

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Cathy Trzaskawka, Head of Global Advocacy at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), breaks down some of the lessons learnt at the 8th Global Patients Congress.


I just recently attended my first ever IAPO Global Patients Congress in Miami. As an industry representative, and the industry partner helping to develop the IAPO 2018 – 2020 strategy, I found the entire experience very engaging and forward leaning.  

The first thing that struck me was the diverse attendance at the meeting. Participants included advocates, industry partners, health leaders, regulators and healthcare professionals. 

From the industry side, our focus is on the patient each and every day. My team at BMS, Global Policy, Advocacy and Government Affairs, is a trusted partner in shaping global health policy. We:

• Develop and advocate company positions on priority issues to maximize patient access and promote a strong climate of biopharmaceutical innovation;

• Appropriately inform advocacy organizations, policy makers, and other key stakeholders about the value of our medicines while seeking their input and providing support to them as relevant;

• Provide internal guidance to inform company positions, vision and execution. 

So, to see presentations on patient access issues and initiatives from not only global patient organizations like the American Chronic Pain Association  and the Global Colon Cancer Association, but also from regulatory bodies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and from health leaders and government bodies and physicians was truly inspiring and enlightening.

Regulator’s view of the patient and advocates - especially patient value has changed. You can see these exciting changes with the FDA’s recent statement on the inclusion of patient experience data, EMA’s inclusion of advocates as voting members on most committees and well as the management board, and HTAs allowing for patients, consumers, and advocates to have voice and vote in increasing number of countries. 

With this change brings challenge and opportunity! 

As we continue to build out the components and tactics of the IAPO strategy, this face to face meeting helped me to realize that collaboration across the sectors is the only way we will be able to solve the diverse healthcare environment issues we face. 

I look forward to continued discussions and opportunities to address patient access to care around the world, and especially working with all of you to get there!