A woman is never only herself; she is a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend, an income earner, a community leader—often, all at once. The bonus but also the burden of being a woman is whether or not she feels valued for her contributions has a much greater impact on the larger community than we realize.
While there certainly have been strides in health, the workplace, governance, and education all over the world, so much still needs to be done to ensure that women’s needs are adequately addressed. Before the coronavirus outbreak, womenfolk have already been reeling under the force of stresses in these health areas: cancer, reproductive health, maternal health, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and age risk factors, among others. Now, the pandemic “threatens to erode the limited gains” in gender equality, according to the United Nations 2020 report on the world’s women.
In a bid to accelerate women’s empowerment in the area of health, Organon, a global healthcare company formed through a spinoff from Merck (Kenilworth, NJ, USA) has recently celebrated HER DAY, which marks the beginning of its mission to create a better and healthier every day for every woman. As a standalone organization, Organon will strive to be the world’s leading women’s health company committed to deliver innovative health solutions for women, conveyed through the company’s tagline ‘Here for Her Health.’
“Our company is here to improve the health of women throughout their lives because we understand that women are at the foundation of a healthier world,” says Emman Tiglao, Organon Commercial Director in the Philippines. “So when we enable them to have access to better healthcare products and services, this creates a ripple effect beyond the individual and the household, helping even other people live their best lives.”
Organon’s R&D philosophy is to build a business around patient needs, with the goal of identifying and advancing healthcare options for women that enable them to live their best lives every day.
“For too long, for too many common conditions, such as heavy, painful, and irregular menstrual bleeding, incontinence and menopause and many others, women have been told to accept and normalize these conditions as a part of life,” said Sandy Milligan, Head of Organon Research & Development. “Organon’s mission is to change this. We believe this approach will be very successful — the ability to identify diseases earlier, the ability to modify the course of diseases or healthcare conditions and to ultimately, improve the quality of life for women at all stages.”
Prioritizing Filipinas’ Health
Its presence in the country comes at a critical time. Most non-COVID health and wellness concerns such as women’s health are not given much-needed attention because of the strain on the healthcare system in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, resulting in worsening outcomes. “Organon will serve as a reminder that with or without pandemic, women’s health should be prioritized,” Tiglao emphasizes.
In the Philippines, unintended pregnancies remain an important public health issue. According to a joint study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund, there has been an additional 79,000 unintended pregnancies per month of quarantine, bringing the numbers to around 2,560,000 incidences in 2020. In 2020, the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) also reported that about 40 to 50 Filipino children aged 10 to 14 years old give birth every week.
Meanwhile, coronary heart disease along with other heart diseases, cancers, and diabetes are among the top ten leading cause of death among women in 2019.
The figures above represent but the tip of the iceberg and many more women are falling under the radar of healthcare because of the current crisis. But there is still a chance to effect change in the lives of women, today and in the future. Supporting their wellbeing involves resolutely sorting through the stockpile of issues surrounding the female. It starts with listening to women’s healthcare needs, big and small, which will enable the healthcare company to develop treatments tailored to them.
The new healthcare company builds upon its strong foundation of more than 70 established and impactful medicines and solutions in a wide spectrum of concerns that include reproductive health, heart disease, breast cancer, allergies, and asthma. These important therapeutic products are distributed around the world, and people in more than 140 countries have benefitted from them. Nearly 80% of its US$6.5 billion in revenue generated outside the U.S. Organon is well positioned for organic low-to-mid-single digit growth from its 2021 base of business.
Such business diversity will provide a sustainable engine of growth so Organon can continue to invest in, and advance new medicines and treatments so urgently needed by women in various contexts.
“Organon is about pushing past the limits of what is being done today because there is so much more we can do for women and their health, as well as for their families and their communities around the world. That’s what inspires us.”
One of the few healthcare companies truly dedicated to women’s health, Organon is developing solutions across three core areas. Women’s health is a portfolio of solutions to support women’s well-being, with a leading contraceptives and fertility business. Biosimilars advance access and create leading position focusing on oncology and inflammatory diseases. Diversified health solutions grow the value of trusted pharmaceuticals for dermatology, pain, and cardiovascular conditions.
Diversity and inclusion are important in healthcare because it helps ensure that everyone has a voice and feels a sense of belonging, especially women who serve as custodians of the family’s health. Organon will serve as an ally to every female and her family by providing quality healthcare services that meet their unique needs throughout their lives. This means assisting a teenage mom in becoming informed of her sexual and maternity rights because she still has many years of peak reproductive years. It means helping taking care of the work-from-home mom who barely has time for self-care. It means giving attention to the health of lola who is asked to look after her grandchildren because the parents are estranged or are out working at a factory.
For Tiglao, a male tackling women’s health, this has been a real eye-opener, seeing how various conditions and health issues significantly impact women around the world with far-reaching consequences. “This is because our women play a critical role in maintaining the health and overall wellbeing of her communities. My work allowed me to better appreciate the importance of taking care of women, and that women’s health should be a responsibility of society as a whole.”