American medtech giant Baxter and pan-Asian healthcare service provider Zuellig Pharma have been collaborating in Malaysia to increase the quality and quantity of care that can be given to patients in their own homes, generating significant cost-savings for the healthcare system and increasing patient-centricity.
“[Home care] reduces costs significantly, lightens the pressure on public hospitals and delivers an improved quality of life to patients”
While home care has been an ongoing area of focus in many Western nations for over 15 years, the concept is only now gaining momentum across Asia, as governments and healthcare providers gain a greater awareness of its benefits. George Kazzi, general manager of Baxter’s Malaysian affiliate, points out that “Home care is now being taken very seriously in Malaysia and has been recognized as one of the Ministry of Health’s main priorities.” Kazzi continues, “Home care requires experience and investment and goes beyond a simple treatment. However, it does reduce costs significantly, lightens the pressure on public hospitals and delivers an improved quality of life to patients.”
In the field of home care in Malaysia, Baxter is probably best-known for its home dialysis solutions, allowing patients suffering from kidney problems to receive treatment without having to enter a hospital. Kazzi acknowledges that “local healthcare professionals and the government are aware and supportive of our initiative” and underlines the company’s contribution to creating a sustainable healthcare system: “In renal dialysis, the government priority is to control the rising cost of therapy. This can be done by implementing a policy that promotes a more balanced approach between home and hospital-based dialysis, creating a more sustainable model of care whilst reducing cost and waiting times at the hospital.”
However, Kazzi is keen to note that the state could go even further in promoting home care, stating that “we are firmly of the view that a 50-50 public/private model is more sustainable in the long-run. Currently, home dialysis penetration is only at 10 percent in Malaysia. Hospital dialysis is notably more expensive.” Alongside savings to the healthcare system, home care also presents a potentially hugely profitable and largely untapped market. “The opportunity for companies like Baxter is clear,” states Kazzi.
Baxter’s main partner in Malaysia is the Singapore-headquartered Zuellig Pharma, which provides logistics services and digital tools alongside Baxter products. Robert Kruit, the Malaysian affiliate’s chief executive, explains that, for him, home care solutions are an essential element in achieving the company’s mission of ‘Making Healthcare More Accessible’. He adds, “We seek to reach as many Malaysian patients as possible and will not neglect some remote areas purely based on cost-effectiveness alone, even though the volumes delivered to these areas are almost negligible. This includes delivering home dialysis solutions regularly to the homes of patients in Malaysia, some of whom live in less-developed areas.”