Boehringer Aims High with Angels Initiative

An ambitious scheme to save 100,000 lives is the runaway winner at the eyeforpharma awards



An innovative scheme to create a community of 1,500 stroke-ready hospitals across Europe has been recognized with the Most Valuable HCP/Healthcare Award at the European arm of the eyeforpharma Awards 2017.

The Angel’s Initiative from Boehringer Ingelheim – which aims to save 100,000 lives by May 2019 – was voted the winner in a unanimous decision by the expert panel of judges.

Only one-third of stroke patients in Europe have access to organized stroke care, while just one per cent of stroke patients in emerging markets are provided with lifesaving treatments. In response, the Angels Initiative is working to establish more stroke-ready hospitals and help all existing stroke centers to get better at treating acute stroke patients.

The scheme addresses the two main problems faced by doctors in implementing appropriate stroke care – complexity and time – by creating a set of tools based on evidence-based guidelines. The Angels Initiative is now endorsed by the World and European Stroke Organizations, as well as many national groups.

One awards judge commented that it was a “great initiative, with massive numbers of patients treated”, while another noted how it was “greatly scalable and had a great impact on patients and healthcare systems”.

In accepting the award, Jan van der Merwe, Project Lead of The Angels Initiative, explained that the project stemmed from his personal experience when his mother-in-law suffered a stroke in 2013. “It turned someone who had been a school principal just the week before, to someone who wore nappies for over a year. This woke me up to the fact that there is a massive problem with how we treat stroke,” said van der Merwe.

Although Boehringer Ingelheim has a strong presence in the stroke/cardiology, the initiative is not linked to a drug, he added. “That makes it unique and made it possible to partner with so many people, industries and societies. There is no commercial gain for us, and I have to thank Boehringer Ingelheim for allowing us to do this.”

Finalists in this category included:

In Their Shoes (Takeda) – to create a corporate communications program that goes beyond traditional methods to transport employees into the patient world, increasing their understanding of patient lives.

China HCP-Facing WeChat Project (UCB) – a free app platform using China’s leading social media platform, WeChat, to enable HCPs to learn about its solutions in a more immediate and audience-centric way.

Singapore Asthma 90 Second Speed Course (GlaxoSmithKline with Vertic) – an asthma course delivered via smartphone including a mix of short facts, multiple-choice quizzes and video content that was designed to be completed within 90 seconds over 9 lessons, potentially on the daily commute.

ViaOpta Simulator (Novartis with Boomerang) – a portable, augmented-reality experience to allow physicians to walk in the shoes of the more than quarter of a billion visually impaired patients.

ReTHINCing the role of cognition in depression (Lundbeck with Complete HealthVizion) – raise awareness of the importance of cognition in people treated for depression.

The Most Valuable HCP/Healthcare Initiative award is one of six categories of the eyeforpharma Awards 2017 Europe


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