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Bayer’s patient assistance programme goes digital in bid to improve accessibility

Pank Jit Sin
13 Feb 2018
From left: Jennifer Yong, managing director of Bayer Co. Malaysia; Dr John Low Seng Hooi, consultant clinical oncologist and Moses Hee, vice president of CareConnect, a division of Zuellig Pharma

In a bid to improve patients’ access to cancer medicines, Bayer Co. (Malaysia) recently launched an online web app. The launch coincided with World Cancer Day in February.

The technology driven tool known as BayPAP (Bayer Patient Assistance Program) is an online web app which was specially designed to be a portal that serves both patients and physicians. It will bring both parties into the paperless era and cut down the lead time for the approval of cancer medicines.

In order to run the BayPAP app effectively, Bayer has partnered with Zuellig Pharma. Zuellig serves as the third-party administrator of BayPAP and is responsible for the operational aspect of the web app to doctors and patients.

Eligible liver cancer patients being prescribed sorafenib or regorafenib can apply to join BayPAP. Here, Zuellig is the appointed third party responsible for evaluating patient submissions and to ascertain their eligibility. Patients are provided a starter kit and a detailed guide in way of an information leaflet, which includes a specific doctor’s code to be used during registration. The code is unique to each doctor. Should the patient find it difficult to sign up, they can always call the hotline system in place for additional help.

Jennifer Yong, managing director of Bayer Co. Malaysia, said: “Bayer is reiterating our commitment to oncology and we have successfully benefitted over 300 patients to date through our patient assistance programmes. Now, with the newly improved, innovative and rebranded BayPAP, patients will be able to have easy access to a one-stop web-based medication assistance resource and save the lead time during the redemption of their free medication. Our aim is to provide medication assistance to Malaysian patients in helping them continue their treatment for as long as it is medically required.”

Moses Hee, vice president of CareConnect, a division of Zuellig Pharma, said digital solutions in today’s healthcare landscape is essential as it allows both patients and doctors to access healthcare advisory and follow-ups. On a global scale, the healthcare industry is moving towards healthcare innovation and Malaysia is among those quicker on the uptake. CareConnect is a division of Zuellig Pharma which handles, among others, third party administrative services, wellness and disease management programmes and other health-related programmes.

The BayPAP is Bayer’s way of giving back to the patients. Under this programme, patients earning less than RM150,000 per annum and citizens of Malaysia who are being treated with sorafenib or regorafenib are qualified for assistance. However, approval is still based on a case-by-case situation. Those who are eligible to join the programme will get one box of sorafenib free with every box purchased. Similarly, patients on regorafenib will get two free boxes of medication for every two boxes purchased.

Yong said there is no intention to set a cap for the number of patients placed in the PAP. It is the company’s intention to help as many patients as possible, and the BayPAP web app is a step forward in speeding up the processes involved. While it used to take a few weeks to process each applicant, the web app can speed things up to 3 days, thus benefiting the patient greatly.

Dr John Low Seng Hooi, a consultant clinical oncologist, who was also present at the launch, said going paperless with the BayPAP web app is a step in the right direction. “With detailed information and pertinent records at our fingertips—and our patients now being able to interact better with us—we can follow through easily on their condition and ultimately facilitate better treatment outcomes.”

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