Dubai, UAE: TheSocialMedwork,an Amsterdam-based social impact enterprise, is helping to ensure Middle East residents can continue to access life-changing medicines from abroad,while travel is restricted due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The independent medicines intermediary facilitates access to treatmentsthat are currently only available abroad and makes them available to sufferers of chronic, life-threatening and terminal illnesses,acrossthe Middle East.
Breaking down the geographical barriers that inhibit access to life-savings medicines is more crucial than ever, as patients navigate their way through the uncertainty of a global pandemic.With travel restrictions in place and patients at even greater risk, TheSocialMedwork offers access to groundbreaking treatments and ensures that Middle East residents can still obtainvital, foreign-approved health innovations,without the need to travel, or having to consider relocating.
The process of acquiring the required medicinesimply involves the patient visiting their regular treating physician who writes a prescription. TheSocialMedwork then sources and delivers the product via tracked courier, utilizing the patient’s personal import (customs) allowance, which permits an individual to import life improving medicinesfor personal use, almost as soon as it is approved in the country of first approval.
CEO and Founder of TheSocialMedwork, and Social Innovator, Sjaak Vink, explains: “There are a variety of reasons why health innovationsthat are approved in one country, may not be available in another.Lack of awareness of its release, relatively low demand per capita, or delays in commercial importing processes are all barriers to patients accessing potentially life-changing medications.In previous times, many patients found that they were forced to travel to access these treatments, but with travelling now posing an even greater health risk, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions, it’s more important than ever that TheSocialMedwork’s universal ecosystem provides an avenue which makesessential treatments globally accessible.
“As well as travel restrictions, patients are also facing difficulty in getting hold of medication due to shortages through certain suppliers, but through our network we are able to aid our patients in receiving their much-neededmedicines, in the quantities they require, improving their overall health and, in some cases, offering an improved standard of living during an already difficult time,” continued Vink.
A major part of TheSocialMedwork’s efforts involve raising awareness amongst those in ongoing pain or who have lost hope. Often, patients are told that there is nothing more which can be done for them,yet, with the service offered by TheSocialMedwork, they’re able to utilize newly released medicinesfrom around the globe.
With many patients also at critical and vulnerable states medically, the heightened risk posed by Coronavirus adds an additional level of complexity. However, the recent expansion of TheSocialMedwork to the Middle East means that where patients previously had to consider relocating to other countries to access necessary medicines, they will now be able to simply, safely, conveniently and readily access them, at a far greater convenience than when international travel is required.
“Access to healthcare is a universal rightand, whilst mandatory basic medical insurance plays a significant role in the welfare of residents in countries such as UAE and KSA, sometimes ‘breaking’ treatments become available in other parts of the world long before they’re available locally. The variousnational importing procedures can take time, which patients seeking urgent care and medication simply don’t have. TheSocialMedwork’snetworkof healthcare providers, policy makers, pharma companies, patients, humanitarians and others,offers unique touchpoints across the medical world, working towards the wider mission of ensuring equal access to healthcare for everyone, providing access to the best possible quality of life wherever we can,” Vink concluded.
Founded in 2015, TheSocialMedwork, which is funded by social impact investors, is a social enterprise working to bridge the gap between access to innovative medicines and the restrictions on availability in the countries where patients are located. TheSocialMedwork’s support team personally assist each individual patient and their treating doctor from the moment they land on the website and until the medicine is safely delivered.