Many upheld arms, grasping hands

Amgen Oncology joins UICC’s call to ‘close the care gap’ in cancer

3 February 2022
I-Fen Chang, Vice President, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology Medical, Amgen

I-Fen Chang

Vice President, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology Medical, Amgen

UICC partner Amgen Oncology works with patients, healthcare providers and advocacy organisations to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in healthcare, in particular in clinical trials – a complex problem to solve as the causes of those inequities are multifactorial.

Advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment are critical to improving outcomes for patients, but those victories mean little if they don’t reach patients when and where they need them. Long-standing causes of health inequities, such as geographic, educational, and socioeconomic limitations, combined with bias based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disability, can negatively affect access to the most appropriate cancer care, especially for underserved patients. 

When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion in healthcare, the pharmaceutical industry is a work in progress. Amgen Oncology has worked closely with patients, healthcare providers and advocacy organisations for years, and their message on this issue has been consistent and clear: there is more work to be done, both as an industry and as a company. We work hard to address inequities in healthcare, but it’s not a simple problem to solve as the causes of those inequities are multifactorial. Closing gaps in cancer care isn’t about simply providing patients with equal resources, because one size does not fit all and every challenge demands an adequate, and often personalised, solution.

At Amgen Oncology, we recognise this and that’s why we work every day to continue listening, learning and growing to address health inequities in our effort to expand the reach, impact and potential of innovative, life-changing medicines for patients regardless of who they are or where they live.

This World Cancer Day, Amgen Oncology is joining the Union for International Cancer Control’s (UICC) call to “Close the Care Gap” in cancer care. As we continue to focus on what we can do in partnership with the wider community to help improve health equity, we are sharing stories from Amgen staff and partners around the world who are making a difference in the cancer community. 

Amgen’s dedication to transforming patient lives goes beyond scientific innovation and new treatments. Addressing health inequity has been an important focus area for Amgen and we continue to seek advice, insights and build strategic partnerships with key groups to activate change for breaking barriers that people with cancer face.

In addition to our partnership with UICC, Amgen supports several initiatives to help break down health equity barriers and close the care gap. 

Each year Amgen hosts a Health Equity Summit, with the latest summit bringing together a range of voices to discuss issues around racial equity in healthcare. Together we identified key takeaways that will be impactful for closing the care gap:

  • COVID-19 brought health equity issues to the forefront
  • Social care is a key component of health equity
  • Community-based services form the foundation for a cohesive healthcare system
  • Technology is both a tool and a challenge in addressing health disparities
  • Taking a patient-centric, culturally sensitive approach to care is a necessity

We recognise that clinical trials have lacked diversity and proportional representation for decades, and it is essential to show if potential treatments are safe and work well for everyone. To combat this issue Amgen is proud to support several initiatives such as the Amgen-led programme known as RISE (Representation in Clinical Research), which seeks to create greater equity in clinical trial diversity. Amgen is also the founding sponsor of IMPACT (Improving Patient Access to Cancer Clinical Trials), led by the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. This initiative is focused on improving patient enrolment, retention, minority participation and equitable access in oncology trials. In 2018, Amgen donated USD 2 million, which helped the program achieve 59% minority participation with 48% of participants coming from households earning USD 25,000 per year or less.

In addition, to help community oncologists extend clinical trial opportunities to their patients, we launched the Amgen Community Oncology Research Collaborators (ACORC) initiative. To date, ACORC partners have enrolled nearly 1,500 patients from community settings across 16 Amgen trials. 

Amgen is committed to working closely with the cancer community, including research and medical scientists, HCPs, advocates, and patients, to help overcome barriers and level the playing field for all people with cancer.

I-Fen Chang is Vice President, global therapeutic area head, oncology medical at Amgen and previously served as the therapeutic head from 2017-2019. Prior to Amgen, Chang held several positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

To learn more about Amgen’s support for the cancer community go to amgenoncology.com
 

Last update: 
Monday 7 February 2022
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