Aussies don’t need to wait any longer —FDA approved medicines could help save Australian lives

September 7, 2016

Every year, groundbreaking new therapeutics for cancer, motor neuron disease and other life-threatening diseases receive FDA approval. From there it can take an average of 2 years for such medicines to become available in Australian hospitals and pharmacies. For patients who are running out of time and options, that’s 2 years too long. Aussies suffer or die needlessly.

TheSocialMedwork aims to change that. Implementing a very well regulated system that is hardly being utilised worldwide, the online platform helps patients and doctors to source their much needed innovative medicine and arranges for it to be delivered to a hospital or pharmacy in their home country, where treatment can take place. Patients no longer need to fly to the US every couple of weeks to receive treatment; they can stay at home with their loved ones.

A network of doctors, patients, pharmacists and innovators.

The platform was founded after e-health innovators Sjaak Vink—founder and former CEO of clinical trial focused MyTomorrows, and Jamie Heywood—founder and former CEO of the largest online patient community in the world—Patients Like Me—both lost friends and family members to cancer and motor-neuron-disease, and felt that they could have been treated more effectively. They began to research and found a legal means to import therapeutics that have been approved in a country other than the patients’ country. Founded in 2014 in Delaware (US), and registered with the Ministry of Health in The Hague (The Netherlands) as an independent intermediary for medicines,TheSocialMedwork has an international team of doctors and pharmacists constantly scan for innovative medicines that have recently been approved somewhere in the world. Each medicine is then rigorously screened to determine whether or not it can offer an ‘added value’ to patients.

47 countries, 5 continents.

To date, doctors and patients from 47 countries have already reached out to TheSocialMedwork for support. The platform has successfully delivered to patients and doctors in 5 continents.

“I witnessed a loved-one fight hard to gain access to an FDA approved medicine that could have saved his life,” states CEO Sjaak Vink. “There’s a current lack of a globally harmonised approval system, and unfortunately that’s not something I can personally change overnight. But I do believe that TheSocialMedwork is making a big step in the right direction.”

At this moment TheSocialMedwork offers 14 recently approved treatments—9 of which are currently directly unattainable to patients in Australian pharmacies. Amongst them is a Japan-approved treatment for MND, the latest FDA-approved breast cancer treatment and an FDA-approved leukemia treatment that has recently caught the attention of many Australians. “Additional promising treatments are expected to be approved in the US within the next few months. We’re going to do our best to ensure that they’re accessible to Australians within weeks of their FDA approval,” states TheSocialMedwork's Dr Jan de Witt. 

The healthcare industry is one of the last major old economy bastions that has remained largely untouched by globalisation and more specifically, instantaneous access to goods on on global level. This is the 21st century. With 1 in 2 Australian men and 1 in 3 Australian women diagnosed with cancer, it’s time for Australia’s geographical location to play a smaller role in Aussies’ access to the latest potentially live-saving options.

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