Innovative polypill strategy is praised at an event held at the European Parliament

December 01, 2015

A public-private partnership to drive awareness and improve the overall management and prevention of recurrent cardiovascular events using polypill-based treatments was praised today in a dedicated roundtable and call to action held at the European Parliament.

Hosted by MEP Francesc Gambús (Spain, EPP) and MEP Aldo Patriciello (Italy, EPP) in cooperation with the CNIC (Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid) and the Barcelona-based pharmaceutical company Ferrer, the event considered risks posed in today's society to the health of people who suffer from cardiovascular disease but are not treated adequately due to lack of adherence to their treatments, threatening their future health and wellbeing. Given that not taking the medication prescribed to prevent further cardiovascular disease (not being 'adherent') is known to severely increase overall cardiovascular risk (5) Ferrer and CNIC, under the framework of a public-private partnership, successfully developed an innovative polypill that combines three important cardio-protective medicines in a convenient, one-a-day capsule. Throughout, the focus of the project has been to reduce the problems people can experience when prescribed multiple medicines as well as to give physicians cost-effective tools to better treat patients, reducing the societal burden and losses to personal productivity by preventing major cardiovascular events and deaths.

Supported by the 7th European framework and Horizon 2020 funding (specially to develop the crucial studies FOCUS, already completed, and SECURE, ongoing right now), this innovation has been approved in fifteen European countries and is already being commercialized across Europe and Latin American.

Professor Valentín Fuster, General Director of CNIC, Madrid, and Director of Mount Sinai Heart, New York and leader of the CNIC-Ferrer polypill project, opened the presentation and highlighted the clinical challenges presented by secondary cardiovascular risks.

Citing Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, which is investing in and prioritising research and innovation for better health in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (6) and the EUROASPIRE IV study, which has highlighted the need for a new approach to cardiovascular prevention (7) Professor Fuster, called on healthcare systems to consider how polypill-based solutions could achieve innovative and effective improvements in established disease areas.

He commented: "By focusing on the most simple challenges of all, specifically presenting medicines in a way which people can better understand and incorporate into their lives, it is possible to go a lot further towards cost-effectively improving public health, rather than by beginning new processes of drug discovery."

Further panellists included representatives of the European Commission, the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, CNIC-Ferrer, as well as Margaretha Hamrin, Head of the Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation Norway, who helped present the personal perspective of people living at increased risk of secondary cardiovascular disease.

Hamrin commented: "Managing the reality of living in the shadow of cardiovascular disease can be very difficult indeed. Life doesn't stop and it is essential that the process of incorporating taking medicine into a busy schedule is made as easy as possible. Using a polypill, with people taking all of their medicines together, can offer reassurance and freedom from anxiety and further risk. It contributes to saving lives by increasing the adherence to treatments for chronic diseases."

Antoni Villaró, COO of Ferrer, commented: "Innovation focussed on addressing the needs of people is critical in the development of new treatments. This task can be easier if it is based on a strong dialogue and collaborative efforts between different levels of expertise. The successful development of the polypill is a very real example of what is possible when you bring public and private groups together. It is an example of the future of research that supports the sustainability of the European Health System."

MEPs Gambús and Patriciello closed the session by thanking the presenters and highlighted this polypill strategy as a strong and successful example of innovation and effective public-private partnership in the heart of Europe at a time of downward pressure on healthcare budgets. Both MEPs underlined the importance of ensuring that the effective management of cardiovascular disease remains a key priority for healthcare decision makers.
Notes to Editors

The roundtable 'Innovating to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease: A European Success Story' took place in the Members' Salon at the European Parliament on 1 December 2015. It was hosted by MEP Francesc Gambús (Spain, EPP) and MEP Aldo Patriciello (Italy, EPP) and the presentation was opened by Professor Valentín Fuster (General Director of CNIC, Madrid, and Director of Mount Sinai Heart, New York). Panellists at the roundtable were Margaretha Hamrin (Leader of Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation Norway), Jorge Pinto Antunes (Acting Head of Unit Innovation for Health, DG for Health and Food Safety), Miguel Lizaso Olmos (Scientific Officer, Medical Research, DG for Research and Innovation), Professor Diederick Grobbee (President-Elect, EACPR-ESC), and Antoni Villaró (COO Ferrer). The roundtable was developed in cooperation with CNIC and Ferrer.

About CNIC

The main mission of the CNIC is to bring together the best of Spanish cardiovascular research and provide it with a modern infrastructure and ample funding to carry out world-leading biomedical research. Through the creation of the Pro CNIC Foundation and the support of the Government of Spain, the CNIC stands as an innovative joint venture between the state and the private sector. The CNIC's three main areas of activity are Scientific Research, Translational Medicine, and Training.

About Ferrer

Founded in 1959, Ferrer is a privately-held pharmaceutical company based in Barcelona, with full vertical integration from R&D to distribution. It is present in more than 90 countries. Ferrer is active in the pharmaceutical, health, fine chemicals and food sectors, key areas for contributing to people's health and quality of life.

About the Fuster -CNIC-Ferrer Polypill

The Fuster-CNIC-Ferrer Polypill consists of an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, a statin and an aspirin. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the American Heart Association (AHA), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend that these drugs should be administered to patients who have suffered a cardiovascular event. References

1. World Health Organization (WHO), Cardiovascular diseases Fact sheet,, 2015

2. Mendis S, et al., WHO study on Prevention of Recurrences of Myocardial Infarction and StrokE (WHO-PREMISE), Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2005

3. Jackevicius CA, et al., Prevalence, predictors, and outcomes of primary nonadherence after acute myocardial infarction, Circulation, 2008

4. Chapman RH, et al., Predictors of adherence with antihypertensive and lipid-lowering therapy, Archives of Internal Medicine (JAMA), 2005

5. Chowdhury R, et al., Adherence to cardiovascular therapy: a meta-analysis of prevalence and clinical consequences, European Heart Journal, 2013 6. European Commission, Horizon 2020-Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing,

7. Kotseva K, et al., EUROASPIRE IV: A European Society of Cardiology survey on the lifestyle, risk factor and therapeutic management of coronary patients from 24 European countries, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2015

Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares

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