Milena Argirović, Director, Takeda

Better Health, Brighter Future

Takeda is determined to provide transformative healthcare solutions and products. At this company they feel a responsibility towards patients, colleagues and other stakeholders, but also to the communities where they operate

Takeda introduced a refreshed corporate philosophy at the end of last year. As our company and the environment evolve, so must the corporate philosophy that tells the story of who we are, what we do, how we do it and why it matters. These reminders are especially pertinent during the ongoing pandemic, allowing us to focus and maintain our commitment to patients, says Milena Argirović.

Everything at Takeda begins with the question “how can we do even more for our patients?”. How is this question answered?

– I want to relay some of the core components of the corporate philosophy and what it means for us and what we aspire to be in the future: create “better health for people, brighter future for the world”. This should guide everything we do. Our vision describes our aspiration for the future: to discover and deliver life-transforming treatments, guided by our commitment to patients, our people and our planet. Takeda is determined to provide transformative healthcare solutions and products. We have a responsibility to patients, colleagues and other stakeholders, as well as to the communities where we operate.

We collaborate closely with patients, providing them with relevant support programmes.

The contribution of Takeda is also more visible than ever now, during these COVID times. We are able to ensure the continuous delivery of our products and overcome all obstacles, and I’m proud to say that there hasn’t been a single day of disruption in the delivery of our products to patients in Serbia. This is one thing, the most important one, I would say. And the second most important thing is that we were really able to help patients who are non-COVID sufferers to receive their healthcare through the introducing of support programmes, such as Telemedicine, very early during COVID – already in April of last year. Through this programme, all IBD and Lymphoma patients were able to have regular check-ups from their homes, enabling both them and their physicians to stay safe while also preserving our overstretched healthcare system from further overload.

This project has been recognised by the Government of Serbia and we are working with them to incorporate it into the public healthcare system.

The COVID pandemic helped us to recognise the importance of two things: innovation and healthcare

Has the COVID-19 pandemic finally led to us recognising the significance of health and pharmaceutical companies?

– COVID pandemic brought an unprecedented disruption to the healthcare system. However, it also helped us to recognise the importance of two things: innovation and healthcare. Innovation is now not limited only to products, but also encompasses innovative services, including digitalisation of the entire healthcare system. This is what COVID has taught us in general.

The importance of innovative pharmaceutical companies like ours is increasing. And collaborations between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare systems have been more evident than ever before. Through our constant communication, we were able to supply the market, ensure treatments for both COVID and non-COVID patients, and ensure some services that innovative pharmaceutical companies can provide, such as telemedicine and other digital solutions. Takeda Serbia is currently partnering up with other innovative Japanese companies from the high-tech sector in order to find top-notch solutions that will support the further development of our healthcare system and patient care.

We will no longer be seen as companies that are only delivering products, rather we will form more and earlier partnerships with all stakeholders, including the government, payers and patient organisations. We will have to start our partnerships and the planning earlier in the life cycle of a product, while also broadening the scope of partnerships. We won’t merely register a product and then leave it to the market, rather we should also think about how we can work together with the authorities and patients to support the further development of healthcare systems and provide overall support to societies in the countries where we operate.

Being a company from a non-EU country, we are doing our best to speed up the regulatory and legal processes in order to bring transformative medicine at the same time or just slightly after the European Union countries. Let´s mention here Takeda’s latest innovative product for HAE (hereditary angioedema) patients, where we were one of the first countries in Europe and the first country in Eastern Europe to deliver this treatment to patients, due to fast marketing approval and the clear value of the product being recognised and funded by the authorities. Despite COVID restrictions, we were able to place Serbia at the centre of the world by bringing top HAE experts from Europe to exchange medical expertise during a fully digital, virtual expert meeting. On this occasion, Serbian, German and Italian experts exchanged their knowhow and experience in the field of HAE. This enabled a new treatment paradigm implementation in Serbia and better disease outcome and quality of life for those of our patients who are living with this severe rare disease.

We were the first country in Eastern Europe to deliver the latest innovative product for HAE (hereditary angioedema) to patients

What did you gain from the latest acquisition of biopharmaceutical company Shire in 2019?

-We have grown and gained another additional, exciting portfolio. On the other hand, the Shire and Baxalta acquisitions, and along with that the divestment of our non-core portfolio, brought us the best way to remain focused on key therapeutic areas and provide the best service to patients.

That acquisition came back in 2019, and I am happy to share that, in April this year, we will formally become a single legal entity in Serbia. Over the past 2 years, we had to adjust the processes and the organisation, but also to preserve business continuity and provide continuous support to patients. Huge recognition for this achievement belongs to the whole Takeda team, who worked tirelessly to deliver this ambition goal.

Even during the integration period, our patients are our key priority and, as I have mentioned, it is only by staying focused that we can ensure we have enough time and resources to address these needs. Our strategic imperative is to responsibly translate science into highly innovative, life-changing medicines. This means that we focus on diseases with the highest unmet needs, to bring medicines of the highest quality to market, as soon as possible. As a company, we are committed to delivering only life transformative medicines, which is why we are present in areas where our products really add significant value and bring transformation to people’s lives. And this is also our commitment and mission for the future.

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