I work for Teva Pharmaceuticals; holding the position of Global Head of Patient Advocacy. I have been happily living and working in Amsterdam for nearly three years.
While working at Teva, I have been steering a group of 18 international patient organizations to explore what ‘unites them’ beneath the therapy area they represent. The idea for this work was stimulated by a conversation I had with my 6year old daughter who was starting to learn about health at school. We were talking about the fact that doctors treated different parts of the body – ie. if you had a sore throat, then you saw a ENT doctor; if you broke a bone, you saw an orthopaedic doctor and so on. She thought about this for a while and then asked ‘but who looks after me?’, clearly not identifying herself as a collection of body parts!
The discussion with the groups reinforced that the majority of health systems and patient advocacy groups focus on the symptom or condition first, people second. Collaboratively, we developed an ‘issue-focused framework’ which allows groups to collectively unite and drive common agendas to re-shape health policy. I believe there is a wider question which builds upon this work. “How can individuals come together to collectively improve societal health and to ensure that the patient voice is centralized within a sustainable healthcare system which has been designed for people?”.