In Amgen’s 40-year history, there have been many examples of staff going above and beyond to help patients get the medicines they need, from an Amgen staff member who chartered a plane to make sure medicines got out within a day of approval, to ensuring operations at Amgen’s largest manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico continued uninterrupted after Hurricane Maria.
Another recent example of Amgen’s patient-first philosophy happened as the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruption and uncertainty for countless travelers around the world. The Amgen Italy Medical team got word that an Italian patient traveling in Egypt needed immediate access to an Amgen medicine, but was unable to get home due to border closures and travel restrictions.
The patient was stranded in Sharm El Sheikh, a resort destination on the coast of the Egyptian Red Sea with limited medical facilities. The Amgen Italy staff quickly relayed the situation to Sebastian Sorsaburu, vice president of Medical for Amgen’s Intercontinental (ICON) region, who connected them with Karim Abdelhady, senior manager of Medical Affairs in Egypt.
While working from home to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Abdelhady quickly formed a virtual task force that included Ahmed Kishta, Amgen's country director in Egypt, and Ahmed Khalaf, senior manager of Amgen’s General Medical Business Unit in Egypt.
The task force of Amgen staff in Egypt (from left to right): Ahmed Khalaf, Ahmed Kishta and Karim Abdelhady.
The task force coordinated with the team in Europe, along with a distributor for the medicine, and a large Egyptian pharmacy chain with a branch in Sharm El Sheikh, to ensure the patient would get his medication as quickly as possible. In less than 24 hours, the pharmacy manager contacted the patient to tell him the medicine was available, and he could pick it up any time.
“In normal days that would have been a good example of our mission,” says Mohamed Nasser, general manager for Amgen Middle East Africa (MEA). “Under the current COVID-19 working conditions, it is an extraordinary example of Amgen serving patients.”