In light of coronavirus crisis, resilience is crucial, says Takeda GM

Arie Kramer spoke to 'The Jerusalem Post' about the role of Big Pharma in a health crisis, the importance of meriting people’s trust and what they are doing to help.

Arie Kramer, general manager Takeda Israel. (photo credit: ILYA MALINKOV)
Arie Kramer, general manager Takeda Israel.
(photo credit: ILYA MALINKOV)
The coronavirus crisis is going to affect the world for a while, but the important thing is to stay resilient, Arie Kramer, the general manager of the pharmaceutical company Takeda Israel, told The Jerusalem Post.
Established over 230 years ago, Takeda is currently the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and a global venture with subsidiaries in dozens of countries and 55,000 employees, focusing among others on the fields of gastroenterology, oncology, and rare diseases. The Israeli branch was established in 2014.
As Kramer explained, another area where the company is especially active is in the field of treatments based on the use of plasma, a field that emerged as very crucial in the fight against the coronavirus.
Asked about the role of pharmaceutical companies during a global health emergency, the general manager explained that the focal point should be to understand the best way for each one to help find solutions.
“I think the main thing is to be attentive to the situations that arise from the crisis and seek to find solutions. Takeda is not changing its focus in light of the tragedy that has befallen on the world, but it is trying to understand the best way to help,” Kramer pointed out. “In this case with regard of plasma products, Takeda initiated a global coalition with other companies that work with plasma to develop a cure based on the antibodies of recovered corona patients which we believe will represent an effective treatment for those who are sick.”
In Israel Takeda has also collaborated with ARC – the innovation center of the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer – in a project to create a model for predicting deterioration in COVID-19 patients, using artificial intelligence and big data.
Moreover, Kramer highlighted that the company has made every effort to make sure that patients undergoing treatments based on their drugs could continue the cures in spite of the emergency, which presented many challenges.
“It is beyond doubt that there is a high level of anxiety around this issue,” he said. “We worked to identify areas of concern and we acted very quickly in cooperation with medical organizations.”
Additionally, Takeda arranged for patients to take cabs instead of public transportation to go and receive treatments, advanced processes for allowing medicines to be taken at home and worked with nonprofit organizations representing sick people with a focus on how to deal with anxiety.
“We also developed content for doctors who found themselves forced to meet their patients virtually instead of in person to teach how to use online tools effectively,” Kramer explained.
Asked about how he would respond to people who express a lack of trust in pharmaceutical companies, the general manager said that “building and maintaining the trust of the societies we function in is one of our core values.
“We work very hard to make sure that everything we do is reliable and it works, and we invite everyone to see how we operate,” he added.
The encounter of such different cultures like the Japanese and the Israeli one presents very unique challenges and opportunities.
“In the Japanese mindset, honoring each culture is very important and this translates into giving me, as the general manager of the Israeli branch, important tools to carry out our work and to cooperate” Kramer explained. “The encounter between the Israeli temperament and Japanese courtesy represents a very special experience. We learn to be more polite and they learn the value of challenging the status quo. Israeli creativity is deeply appreciated.”