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To break the paradigm of the traditional role of the pharmaceutical company

31st Economic Forum Expert features

AstraZeneca has always set itself the goal of crossing the boundaries of science to develop and create modern drugs that will help fight diseases that are the greatest challenges of modern medicine. This goal requires cooperation, which is why in Poland we build partnerships with the academic community and create support mechanisms for startups. By establishing this cooperation, we try to go beyond the traditional role of a pharmaceutical company, to become an important part of the Polish healthcare system, to respond to the needs of patients with even greater effectiveness.

Hans Sijbesma, Area Vice President Central & Eastern Europe, and Baltics at AstraZeneca 
Wiktor Janicki, President of the board at AstraZeneca Pharma Poland  

The COVID pandemic has shown how much we need science and innovation as humanity. During this difficult time, as society, we began to appreciate valuable scientific research and again saw how important technological progress is. As nation we have also matured digitally. These are very important social gains that must be fully exploited. Our obligation is to build further public confidence in science. We can do that by supporting the ecosystem of innovation, through the cooperation with scientific institutions and the public sector. Medicines are just one part of the overall healthcare system. They are important, but their effective use requires innovation also in other areas – healthcare system organization or disease diagnostics. That is why at AstraZeneca we are close to issues related to improving the quality of services – introducing such innovative solutions as e-prescription or artificial intelligence in diagnostics. Hence, we are actively involved in initiatives such as the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub (WHIH) or the Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Health Systems (PHSSR).

As part of the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub – a public-private partnership established under the auspices of the Medical Research Agency, together with other key investors in the biotechnology sector in Poland, we provide our resources, knowledge, and experience to effectively implement projects aimed at improving Polish patients’ access to high-quality healthcare services. In July, the first WHIH #Nephrohero competition was adjudicated, as part of which, as AstraZeneca, we allocated a significant amount to the implementation of a project aimed to help patients with chronic kidney disease.

PHSSR is an initiative of the London School of Economics, the World Economic Forum, with the support of AstraZeneca. This is an attempt to draw conclusions for health systems in connection with the pandemic – to answer the question of what needs to be done to make them sustainable and resistant to possible future crises. The project enables the development of regional cooperation in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States to share experiences, reduce costs and eliminate some of the barriers between the systems.

In 2021, AstraZeneca celebrated its 30th anniversary in Poland. Today we work in two research and development centers: in Warsaw and Krakow, employing over 2,700 employees. As a company with one of the largest levels of expenditure on research and development in the country in the life sciences sector, AstraZeneca will continue to use its position to build alliances with the world of science and initiate cooperation between the private and public sectors around the innovation ecosystem in Poland.

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