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I COVERED Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG), Asia’s flagship tech event from June 1-3. The event brought together global leaders and decision makers from across the tech ecosystem to debate and address the opportunities and challenges as the world harnesses the potential of digital. to propel the next stage of global economic growth while building an inclusive digital future. Two popular segments, ATxEnterprise and ATxImpact, spanned three halls of over 500 exhibitors from 32 countries/regions and featured 200 conference sessions with over 350 speakers.

During the first day, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Health of Singapore, issued a bold challenge to the audience in his inspirational opening, which put the participants in the challenge to think big about the transformative power of technology. The topic “Transforming Health Tech in Asia” tackled a wide-ranging conversation about the transformative power of health technologies and access to healthcare in Asia. Pierre Gaudreault, President of Asia (Emerging Markets) for Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group took the discussion beyond vaccine development to the research and development of antiviral pills which involved the virtual screening of a molecule using a supercomputer. When the molecule is zoomed in, it is easier to identify what might be suitable for the Covid-19 virus. It is easier to test molecular compounds in a virtual lab environment rather than a physical one. They could then test the identified molecule in the wet lab.

In a related press release, Lidia Fonseca, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital and Technology Officer of Pfizer, said, “Pfizer applies digital data and AI across the entire value chain, making makes our work faster and easier and improves every aspect of our business. . We drive this innovation end-to-end with three strategic priorities in mind: first, to improve patient health outcomes; second, getting medicines to patients faster; and third, to fuel the breakthrough therapies of tomorrow. »

Faster research and development potentially saves lives. Patients could be diagnosed online. Medicines are delivered safely. Diagnostics are a game-changer for a tech industry. “Our business model is moving towards a place where a patient could be diagnosed online, have a prescription written online, and have the drug delivered the same day,” he said, comparing it to same-day delivery. groceries from Amazon. Patients with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure tend to stop treatment after six months. Telehealth and diagnostics could play a role in helping patients follow their treatment regimens.

Pfizer is exploring micro-financing, reimbursement and various go-to-market models to improve access to medicines in emerging markets in Asia. “The element of equity of access to care is the key element for Pfizer. Our goal is to make breakthroughs to save people’s lives,” Gaudreault said. They have partnered with some fintech companies in the region in some of these areas with moderate success. While companies such as Pfizer have a role to play in terms of the affordability and price of their products, “there is a huge call to action for fintech and technology companies to provide resources and innovative ideas to companies like ours to provide access to care for populations”. who are in need.”

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No wonder Pfizer launched a health equity initiative for 45 low-income countries. Called ‘A Deal for a Healthier World’, this health equity initiative provided all of the pharmaceutical giant’s high-quality patented medicines and vaccines to be available in the US or EU European Union on a not-for-profit basis to 1.2 billion people in 45 low-income countries. On the wish list of technological innovations, Gaudreault is looking at the diagnosis of a critical disease that could be treated earlier. Another is good representation of Asian countries in their clinical trials.

Another panel of experts also discussed how the Covid-19 pandemic has become a major enabler of technology in Covid-19 healthcare and trust is key to ensuring continued progress. The Strait Times reported that Singapore’s Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung, his Malaysian counterpart Khairy Jamaluddin, Doctor Anywhere’s chief financial officer Edwin Basuki, and Jessica Tan, co-chief executive of financial services company Ping An Group in China, were part of the panel. Digital solutions would continue to play an important role in societies.