The key priority of the partnership between AstraZeneca and the World Heart Federation (WHF) will be to encourage development of solutions that reduce the burden of cardiovascular (CV) disease, as well as its associated risks and complications. An initial project, the Heart Failure Gap Review study, a survey of more than 18,000 policymakers and members of the general public.
Jean-Luc Eiselé, CEO of the WHF, told Outsourcing-Pharma that the study revealed some notable gaps in understanding among both groups.
“55% of the general public could not identify the definition of heart failure from a list of definitions of different cardiovascular diseases, and less than half of respondents were able to connect the leading symptoms with the disease,” Eiselé told us. “Meanwhile, policymakers tend to underestimate the societal and economic burden of heart failure. 60% of policymakers were unaware heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalisations among people over 65.”
What’s more, Eiselé explained, is that despite medical advances, the level of understanding has not changed significantly over the last decade.
“This is a significant problem, as research shows that the lack of understanding of heart failure signs and symptoms may prevent people seeking medical attention promptly, in turn possibly resulting in premature deaths,” he said.
Joris Silon (AstraZeneca’s senior vice president for Global Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism (CVRM), and the BioPharmaceuticals business unit) told us the collaboration will seek ways to reduce that knowledge gap.
“The AstraZeneca-WHF partnership will work to raise awareness of heart failure, identify further barriers to care, elevate heart failure as a political priority, enhance prevention and diagnosis, and improve heart failure patient management,” he said. “Spotlight On Heart Failure is a response to the Heart Failure Gap Review that seeks to educate people about heart failure and its symptoms, move people to act earlier to prevent the disease or seek treatment earlier, and thereby improve the prognosis for those who have been diagnosed.”
Additionally, Silon said, the company also hopes to promote dialogue among research organixations, advocacy groups, physicians and members of the public on possible ways abate the progression of the disease “increase quality of life for patients” in the future.
“By working together, we can create an environment that will embrace scientific breakthroughs and improve patient care,” Silon commented.
The partnership also includes AstraZeneca backing the WHF Use Heart to Fight COVID-19 campaign, designed to address the particular vulnerabilities of people with HF and other conditions.
“It is impossible to know what course the pandemic will take in the future, but we do know that taking care of our hearts is more important than ever,” Eiselé said.