Spreading HOPE: Teva’s work to improve global access to medicine
“There is a massive childhood cancer challenge in Africa. To put it in perspective; in the U.S. there are 15,000 childhood cancers annually and around 80% survive . In Sub-Saharan Africa there are 100,000 childhood cancers annually and 90% die . Global HOPE was developed to address the inequity and this unacceptable situation.” Dr David G Poplack, Director of Global Hematology Oncology Paediatric Excellence (HOPE).
Dr David G Poplack is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of paediatric oncology who launched Global HOPE in 2016 from Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest children’s hospital in the US. The program has had a life-changing impact in reducing child cancer deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa and its vital partnership with Teva is helping to get medicines where they are needed.
Teva Global HOPE partnership: interview with Dr David Poplack
Teva has long worked to provide solutions for vulnerable populations who do not have the means or the access to reasonable levels of healthcare and medicine. In 2020, Teva donated $571 million worth of medicines (317 million units) to patients in need, more than double our 2019 donations.
And our ambition is growing. In our 2021 Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Report, we announced goals to increase access to our medicines, which are integrated into our corporate strategy, with certain critical targets linked to executive compensation. We will launch eight programs globally by 2025 to get our medicines to more people, including in low and middle-income countries, who otherwise would not be able to access them.
The Global HOPE program has taken a three-pronged approach:
- Building capacity by training doctors, nurses and health care professionals (HCPs)
- Enhancing access to essential medicines
- Improving paediatric healthcare facilities
To date, Global HOPE has treated more than 8,700 patients, trained 3,500 HCPs and is expanding into new countries with their training programs.
“We started in Botswana, Malawi and Uganda, but are training people from many different places in these sites and they are returning to their own countries and setting up pediatric oncology departments there.”
The Teva partnership came about when Dr Poplack discovered that Teva provides 70% of the medicines that are needed to provide support for children with cancer. A meeting at the UN General Assembly on NCDs in 2018 was effective in starting the relationship. Dr Poplack says:
“I’ve seen a lot in terms of pediatric cancer over many years but of all the things I’ve been involved in throughout my career, Global HOPE and this partnership with Teva has the greatest potential medical impact of anything I’ve ever done. There is much we can do together to save many thousands of lives.”
Teva’s donation, part of our commitment to increasing access to medicines, will support treatment plans for almost 95% of Global HOPE’s chemotherapy patients. In 2020, we supplied 15 different medicine types to the region, including chemotherapy support, anti-infection, anti-fungal and hormone therapy. This year we are adding 13 new products to the list, to make a total of 28. These medicines are manufactured at Teva sites in the US, Israel, India and Europe.
The Teva partnership also has the potential to help with medicine management, which is a vital skill in programs like this.
“Training for pharmacists and pharmacy staff is very important as in many countries they don’t know how to handle these medicines,” explains Dr Poplack. “This is a critical barrier to access and there is a real opportunity to leverage Teva’s expertise to help people on the ground with inventory management, supply chain and quality control. We need to train them to ensure the drug donations are handled, stored and used properly.”
Dr Poplack also pays tribute to the fact that donations continued and deliveries were made successfully to the regions throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic. Across Teva, teams mobilized quickly to assure essential medicines and supplies continued to reach patients, even as we experienced one of the greatest health challenges of our time.
Now Dr Poplack is looking forward to the continued expansion of the program in its second year.
“If we’re able to improve survival by 40%, that means 40,000 children per year will be saved. It’s an amazing statistic. Our partnership with Teva in the coming years will save many hundreds of thousands of children with cancer.”
Find out more
Discover how Teva is improving access to medicines for 4000 children with cancer in Malawi
Read how Teva stepped in to help children in Ethiopia, when the country began to run out of cancer medicines
Learn more about our important work to improve access to medicines globally