Those who suffer from the rare skin diseases generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP) and palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) experience physical and mental pain.
Many people know that the heart is the hardest working muscle in the body. But what is often not known is that cardiovascular disease, which affects the heart and blood vessels, is the leading cause of death in the world today. Boehringer Ingelheim and its partners have therefore taken up the challenge of improving the lives of people living with cardiovascular diseases.
The World Heart Federation (WHF) works to prevent premature cardiovascular deaths and improve access to treatment. Jean-Luc Eiselé has been leading the WHF since May 2017. In this interview, he discusses the importance of partnerships for the mission of his organization.
Eiselé: Heart disease is the leading cause of death, claiming nearly 18 million lives annually. We know that up to 80% of premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are preventable.
Eiselé: Partnerships can save millions of lives every year by enhancing our ability to raise awareness. Together with the Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly Alliance, we have been able to successfully strengthen heart health for those people living with and without diabetes through education initiatives such as World Heart Day (WHD) since 2019.
On WHD, thousands of people from around the world unite to spread awareness of heart health. Together with the Alliance, we were able to reach more than 425 million people, who are diagnosed with diabetes, on WHD 2020. Under the slogan “Use Heart”, we informed them about the link with cardiovascular diseases while explaining to them the need to protect their hearts to live longer, healthier lives. Furthermore, it is estimated that nearly 215 million people are living undiagnosed with diabetes. Therefore, partnerships like the one with the Alliance are key to educating people with and without diabetes to visit their health care professionals and start striving for a healthy heart today.
Eiselé: Partnerships are crucial to expanding the reach of the WHF and thereby have a greater impact in the reduction of cardiovascular disease mortality through awareness and prevention.
To date, our partnership with the Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly Alliance has enabled us to share more patient stories and inspire the over two billion people following WHD. Furthermore, teaming up with the Alliance has enabled us to conduct roundtables around the WHF Roadmap on CVD and diabetes. These roundtables bring together health professionals, government representatives, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and industry to ensure a holistic, patient-centric approach that takes into account the specificity of national health systems.
Eiselé: Patients and their heart health are at the center of our efforts and the reason the WHF exists. We work regularly with patient groups and we engage them in both diabetes and heart failure research and campaigns. We are currently embarking on a journey to lead an unprecedented collaborative effort with the pharmaceutical industry on diabetes control and prevention. We focus on communications, awareness raising, and de-stigmatization. We believe that it is time for a concerted effort to tackle diabetes as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and COVID-19.
Patients and at-risk individuals are at the heart of every initiative to reach our vision of heart health for everyone. Our work is evidence-based but story-driven, and without patients there are no stories and no progress.
Eiselé: We need to be agile, innovative, and able to inspire others. Our strong network and overall success are built on our credibility as an evidence-based global organization and our ability to adapt to evolving science. We collaborate with partners like the Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly Alliance because of their leadership and innovation. This paves the way for others to join our important mission.
Eiselé: The heart is the first sign of life and the only organ we can hear and feel. It is easy to get passionate about it, but it is not easy to make a real difference for millions of people. Yet, this is the part that inspires me the most. To unite a wide variety of organizations and companies with sometimes conflicting agendas under one mission – heart health – means a lot to me. The most rewarding experience is seeing how our team and Board manage to bring together the global cardiovascular community and create a lasting change in access to care and prevention. It is our job to inspire others and lead the way in cardiovascular knowledge sharing, communications and policy, and behavior change.
The Alliance has since leveraged the strengths of two of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies to focus on patient needs, thereby demonstrating their commitment not only to the care of people with type 2 diabetes but also to investigating the potential to address other areas of unmet medical need. Three successful products have come out of this alliance: TRAJENTA® (linagliptin) was launched in 2011, JARDIANCE® (empagliflozin) in 2014, and BASAGLAR® (insulin glargine) in 2016.
In 2015, empagliflozin was the first SGLT-2 inhibitor to show a positive impact on cardiovascular mortality in the landmark cardiovascular EMPA-REG-OUTCOME® trial in patients with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease. Based on these groundbreaking results, clinical trials like the EMPEROR trials or EMPA-KIDNEY have been initiated to evaluate the impact of empagliflozin on people living with heart failure or chronic kidney disease, with and without type 2 diabetes. With the EMPEROR-Reduced trial in 2020, the Alliance took the first step toward providing a treatment option for adults facing heart failure.