As we near the holidays and the end of, what has undoubtedly been, an important year for our company and the Canadian healthcare industry, we can’t help but reflect on the milestones that got us here.  And as we think about our accomplishments, we also think about the learnings we’ve gained and the opportunities we’ve had to help improve the lives of Canadians for the better.

So, as we close out another year, we thought we would share our views on the trends that have shaped our business in 2017 and have helped us live our mission of doing now what patients need next.

1: Investing in Health Research Benefits Canadians

As a company, we have long believed that investing in clinical research is by far the best thing we can do for the health of Canadians. In 2017, Roche Canada invested more than $14.8 million in clinical studies for novel medicines and diagnostics through 329 clinical trial sites across the country.1 Globally, we are not only the leading R&D investor in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology category, we rank 7th in R&D investment across all sectors, alongside companies such as Microsoft, Intel and Volkswagen.

As one of the few global pharmaceutical companies with an established Product Development site in Canada, we see the value of this investment, both in terms of providing patients with access to promising new medicines, as well as the economic benefit and scientific expertise that comes with attracting global research dollars to Canada.  Looking to the year ahead, we will continue to maximize our impact through ongoing clinical studies and will look to bring new clinical research projects to Canada.

2: A Focus on Diagnostics, Medicines and High-Value Programs Helps Us Deliver Impact

We continue to focus on driving advancements in areas of high unmet medical need in order to bring diagnostics and treatments to patients who can receive the greatest benefit from our innovations. By the end of 2017, it is estimated that one in four Canadians will have been tested using a Roche Diagnostics product,2 and our medicines will have treated approximately 315,000 Canadians.3

This year we launched into exciting new therapeutic areas including multiple sclerosis, as well as a cancer immunotherapy treatment that stimulates a person’s immune system to attack cancer cells. We also introduced new platforms to help health care and laboratory professionals improve patient safety, provide accurate and reliable results faster, and benefit from automated systems that require smaller samples from patients.

Beyond our focus on bringing novel medicines and diagnostic tests to market, we recognize that we also have a role to play in bringing stakeholders and partners together to help drive change in our healthcare system landscape and to improve the patient journey. For example, we know there are moments in every cancer story that deserve critical thinking and a chance to be rewritten. So we launched the Rewrite Cancer initiative, to bring people together to inspire, innovate and create change for a better future for cancer care in Canada.

3: Enhancing Transparency Builds Trust & Belief

Over the last year, transparency has taken on a new meaning within the Canadian pharmaceutical industry.  At Roche, we have long believed that increased transparency in our business operations not only enhances trust in our company but it also drives stakeholder belief in the value we bring to society.  

This transparency goes beyond our financial reporting and extends to disclosure about our interactions with healthcare providers, patient organizations, and other health system stakeholders who work with us to deliver medicines and solutions to the patients who need them.  And while we believe our partnerships are critical to how we deliver impact, there is increased scrutiny on how pharmaceutical companies work with healthcare providers in Canada.   

To help drive an open conversation about these interactions, in 2017, Roche partnered with nine other Innovative Medicines Canada member companies to publish information on transfers of value made by our individual companies to healthcare providers (HCPs) and healthcare organizations (HCOs) in Canada. As the primary point of contact with patients, HCPs offer invaluable expertise into how disease is managed in the real-world setting. Their insights help us serve patients better by addressing clear gaps and barriers within our current healthcare system, furthering innovation and advancing the delivery of quality healthcare. And, as with any professional group providing consultative services, it is fair and appropriate to remunerate HCPs and HCOs for their time and expertise.

As industry partners, we are committed to advancing and evolving the initial framework used for our reporting. While we have taken this initial step to improve transparency and accountability, we recognize that this is just a first step, and we look forward to continuing this important discussion in the coming year.

4: Giving Back To The Community Should Be More Than Just A Financial Investment

Community involvement and philanthropic giving is important to us as a company and as individuals. In 2017, we supported 98 organizations and donated more than 450 items, such as toys and bicycles to help groups fulfill their mandate within the communities in which we live and work.

We also joined our global colleagues for the Roche Children’s Walk, a cornerstone of our global philanthropic efforts that has raised over $20 million CAD in donations to be used for children’s projects around the world. This year, nearly 500 Canadian employees participated in the Walk, supporting long-term projects and creating sustainable change in the developing world, in addition to raising money for our local philanthropic partners.

While we have long supported the idea of giving back to local organizations, this year we focused our efforts on ensuring that each and every one of our employees had the opportunity to give back in a personal way. We launched a new employee volunteer program that encourages employees to take paid time away from work to volunteer with an organization that’s meaningful to them. We also found opportunities for our employees to volunteer with our philanthropic partners giving not only giving their time, but also their skills and knowledge to causes that could benefit from their experience.  As a result, in 2017, 558 Roche Canada employees volunteered their time in a variety of team and individual activities, dedicating more than 2,900 hours to local charitable organizations.

Looking back at 2017, it’s clear that this year has been a formative year for our company and our industry in many ways. But our ability to realize the full potential of the opportunities available to us would not have been possible without the people we know both as colleagues and friends. We thank them for their tremendous contributions and commitment to helping us live our mission of doing now what patients need next.

From all of us at Roche Canada, we wish you and yours the very best this holiday season.

December 19, 2017

Previous In Focus posts

1. Clinical trial data as of December 15, 2017

2. Reference: IVD as per Roche served market - Boston Biomedical Consultants (BBS)

3. Patient numbers are estimated using data from market research studies as well as sales and prescribing data and therefore represent an approximation of the number of patients treated.