While 2020 was undoubtedly challenging, it also presented us with new and sometimes unexpected opportunities to pursue innovation in care and treatment. We continued to pursue digital-driven progress in a number of patient-critical areas, from new acquisitions and partnerships, to ongoing awareness-raising around rare diseases or the unmet needs of immunology and neurology patients. For instance, we were also the first pharmaceutical company to join the COVID Moonshot crowdsourcing initiative, combining our scientific expertise with artificial intelligence (AI) to identify molecules that counteract replication in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. You can read more about this initiative in the Caring for Communities chapter of this report.
Spotlight Story: UCBCares during COVID-19
UCBCares is a dedicated service providing support to patients and healthcare professionals throughout the treatment journey. Teams are available to share guidance on specific treatment options, answer any and all questions about UCB medicines, and provide relevant resources and support.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, this support service became a lifeline for many patients. Following specialized training, UCBCares teams became available 24/7 to respond to the needs of patients and healthcare professionals alike, providing an effective, accurate, informative, reassuring and, above all, empathetic response to increased levels of concern, particularly around continuity of medicine supplies and immunosuppression of medicines.
Social media inquiries from patients and healthcare providers (HCPs) were redirected to the UCBCares web page, where views increased 50 percent during the March-April peak in virus infections. UCBCares Europe sent more than 2 200 customized e-mails across 15 countries, containing key information for patients and healthcare providers. UCBCares in the U.S. engaged with hundreds of patients on questions related to COVID over the course of the year.
The UCBCares teams continued to play a key role in answering questions about the special programs announced by UCB to ensure patients continue to receive the medicines they need, however much they are affected by the crisis. They remain on standby to provide updates, answer questions and provide information on the measures we are taking to support patients living with severe, chronic diseases, during and beyond the current crisis.