ASTRAZENECA PARTNERS WITH CARING PHARMACY TO IMPROVE MANAGEMENT OF ASTHMA
MAY 27, 2019 @ 8.43AM
AstraZeneca Malaysia and the Caring pharmacy chain have joined hands in a recent Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to embark on a partnership intended to improve the health and lives of patients with asthma.
This partnership marks a significant milestone as part of the Healthy Lung Malaysia Programme; an initiative by AstraZeneca aimed at delivering improvements for patients living with asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) via a multi-faceted approach of increasing disease awareness, building healthcare provider capability, increasing access to healthcare and improving understanding of disease and effective treatment.
The Caring pharmacy chain’s landmark decision makes it the first pharmacy chain to collaborate with AstraZeneca Malaysia to launch the MyAsthma campaign, focused on empowering patients to enhance their understanding and management of asthma.
Currently in its pilot phase, the MyAsthma campaign, which is part of the Healthy Lung programme, focuses on three key areas:
· patient-centric education and support
· knowledge and capability building for healthcare providers, and
· digital-based solutions
"The rollout of the MyAsthma campaign, as part of our Healthy Lung programme reflects our commitment to improving access to high-quality respiratory care. Among Malaysians, asthma is not seen as a serious health condition and is not well managed. This can lead to disease exacerbation, hospitalisation, lost productivity and other socioeconomic burdens,” said Allen Patino, Country President, AstraZeneca Malaysia.
Patino said there are dangerous consequences from the overuse and reliance on the blue rescue inhaler and non-compliance with the anti-inflammatory inhaler medication.
"This is important as asthma is known as a long-term condition which periodically inflames and narrows the air passages in the lungs. It is also common for asthma patients to have poor inhaler technique which could lead to inadequate delivery of medication to the lungs. As such, appropriate and timely delivery of knowledge regarding asthma and inhaler use is imperative for asthma patients to avoid and prevent a future risk of an asthma attack,” he added.
Respiratory illnesses major cause of death
Of the two million estimated asthma patients in Malaysia, only 6% have achieved asthma control, although 56% of patients self-reported that their disease is properly controlled. Then, there are the undiagnosed patients, with a survey by Asthma Council Malaysia in 2003 revealing that 66% of asthmatics in Malaysia had never undergone a lung function test (a test required to diagnose asthma).
Beyond that, respiratory illnesses remain a major cause of death and hospitalisation, with local studies estimating the average cost of RM1,777.86 per asthma-related hospitalisation, 48% of patients having missed work or school due to asthma, averaging 11.2 days of absences, and suffering an average productivity drop of 21% when their asthma is at its worst. Based on these statistics, it is more imperative than ever to raise awareness on asthma and its proper management strategies.
Through the MyAsthma campaign, several initiatives will be rolled out in line with the three key areas identified:
In terms of patient-centric education and support, close to 200 CARiNG pharmacists across 126 CARiNG outlets will motivate asthma patient they serve to enrol in MyAsthma, with the aim of reaching 20,000 patients through the CARiNG pharmacy chain.
Patients needing extra help will be identified by pharmacists to receive asthma counselling by Breathe EaSY nurse educators appointed by AstraZeneca, to improve disease management. CARiNG pharmacists will support the nurses by continuing to assess if patients are compliant with disease control advice. At the same time, patients will be empowered with more knowledge on asthma through a digital platform, accessible anytime at their own convenience.
Under other Healthy Lung initiatives, AstraZeneca Malaysia has been working with Asthma Malaysia since 2017 to increase awareness of asthma among the public. The organisation is a trusted online resource for the public to learn about and understand asthma better. AstraZeneca has also contributed to educating over 2,000 primary care physicians to date, via the Managing Asthma COPD Effectively (MACE) programme in collaboration with the Malaysian Thoracic Society (MTS) and collaborated with key healthcare professionals on the Asthma COPD Clinical Pathway (ACCP) – a formal referral system for patients.
 National Health & Morbidity Survey 2011
 Asthma poorly managed among Malaysian sufferers, The Star, 26 May 2016
 Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention 2018
 Breathe easier, The Star, 6 June 2010
 Health Facts 2018
 Yee V.Y & Asrul A.S, 2018, How Much Does Management of an Asthma-Related Event Cost in a Malaysian Suburban Hospital?, Value in Health Regional Issues 15C (2018) 6-11
 Thompson PJ et al. Respirology (2013) 18, 957-967
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