by Zuellig Pharma

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many businesses across the globe, forcing them to rethink their strategies and operations to cope with adjusting to a new normal.

Zuellig Pharma is no exception. In response to the impact on the healthcare landscape, we have witnessed our teams across all 13 markets and business units come together in exceptional ways to make healthcare accessible to the communities we serve.

Our resilience, determination and innovation during this time have been termed the #ZPUnited spirit. This spirit transcends cultures and communities and enables us to relentlessly pursue our purpose. From donating critical medical supplies to improving patient outcomes and overcoming obstacles to provide service excellence, here are the unique ways in which each of our regional markets have gone above and beyond in delivering on our mission and embodying the #ZPUnited spirit.

Ensuring access to essential medicine and information

As governments implemented lockdowns to curb the virus’ spread, we needed to make arrangements to maintain the delivery of critical medicines and prevent disruptions to our supply chains.

From the early onset of the pandemic, our team in Taiwan partnered the Taiwan Centers for Disease to implement robust measures to minimise the risk of transmission within our premises, while regularly engaging with employees to equip them on how to protect themselves against the virus. These steps were necessary for smooth operations with minimal disruptions.

In response to the nation-wide lockdown in the Philippines, we quickly formed new partnerships with the Philippine Air Force and Philippine Coast Guard to ensure transportation routes for medical supplies to continue to be delivered. We also spearheaded a fund-raising effort, Project Kaagapay with other organisations and collected over US$2.7 million in donations since launching in April to bring immediate aid to frontliners by providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. Additionally, we partnered with local governments to improve their strategies in the containment, management and treatment of COVID-19.

Over in Thailand, our teams leveraged decades of expertise to provide much-needed delivery and distribution of COVID-19 treatment medications at no cost, to the Department of Medical Services and hospitals within the nation-wide network of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and Bangkok Metropolitan. Our Myanmar team has also made donations of 800 sets of personal protective equipment and a significant amount of other critical medical supplies to Myanmar’s Containment and Emergency Response COVID-19 Committee and various medical institutions. These supplies were purchased with donations from Zuellig Pharma and individual contributions from employees. Teams in Singapore worked with key stakeholders like the Temasek Foundation to procure essential medical supplies to support frontliners in healthcare institutions. This is in addition to working with the Ministry of Health to making deliveries of surgical masks over the weekend to ensure healthcare workers are equipped to deal with COVID-19.

Accelerating digital to overcome barriers to quality healthcare

As patients with pre-existing conditions are more vulnerable during this time, the Korea team quickly took action by making use of technology to bridge crucial gaps for at-risk diabetes patients. They were able to rely on our proprietary Glucodi Mypharmacy mobile app to record their glucose levels, syncing with their blood glucose measuring device Glucodi SMART to regularly keep their health in check. The team also went a step further to connect public data to users, who are now able to locate nearby pharmacies selling masks and check availability of stock. This has helped to improve the health outcomes of these patients and keep them safe during the pandemic.

On top of empowering our patients with knowledge, our digital health solutions team accelerated the development of in-house technologies to overcome barriers from lockdowns and movement control orders. These restrictions meant sales representatives were no longer able to collect orders from customers face-to-face, which set our team into action in rapidly developing and launching an improved version of our eZRx platform, an interactive engagement portal for customers to place orders for prescription drugs, medical devices, or consumer health products anytime, anywhere. The platform ensures that all orders are fulfilled, while maintaining efficiency and product integrity, and is currently available in the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia with plans to launch in other markets as soon as possible.

It is difficult to detect when someone has COVID-19 especially when the person is asymptomatic. This fear of contracting the virus has driven many online for medical consultations. To meet this demand and maintain access to health services, we are working closely with the Department of Health (DOH) and doctors’ associations in the Philippines to launch eZConsult, a telemedicine application. The application has been launched in beta version and we are working closely with pharmacy partners to process electronic prescriptions and deliver the medication to patients. This solution will be rolled out in other markets soon.

Another solution we launched is eZTracker, the first blockchain-based application in Asia that allows users to trace a product’s origins and authenticity by scanning a code on the packaging. The rising trend of counterfeit medicines has not stopped during COVID-19. Instead, counterfeiters are using news and reports around the infection to market fake medicines, posing a major threat to supply chain integrity. With the application, Zuellig Pharma and the medicine’s manufacturer are instantly notified if an unregistered product is detected and can raise the issue to relevant authorities. This app is currently available in Hong Kong and we have accelerated its launch in the Philippines to support the country’s mass vaccination programme and track up to one million flu vaccine doses.

Maintaining operational quality and excellence

In these busy times where demand for healthcare skyrockets, it is easy to neglect operational quality and excellence. Zuellig Pharma has put in extra effort to maintain high standards. Our teams in Malaysia and Myanmar have been awarded two major certifications, reaffirming their commitment to improving the state of healthcare access in both countries.

Malaysia recently attained the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) Certification, Classification – Level A from the BSI Group, a global leader in the production and certification of standards for management systems.

People first, always

The internal has an impact on the external. Thus, our priority is always our people. it is important to ensure they feel fulfilled and cared for so that they are well-equipped to fight the pandemic with high morale.

To encourage our colleagues to stand in solidarity with others on the frontlines, we set up the #ZPUnited in Action Volunteer Programme to form a reserve task force that supports colleagues in critical roles. Close to 2,000 employees stepped up beyond the call of duty, an incredible show of support during this challenging period.

Additionally, our Employee Assistance Programme in our regional and Hong Kong and Macau offices aim to support colleagues emotionally and mentally during this time of unpredictability. A private 24-hour hotline and counselling materials are made available to employees and their loved ones at no cost. We are looking to implement the Programme in Indonesia, Philippines and other markets.

The fight against COVID-19 will be a long-drawn battle, but with the #ZPUnited spirit of collaboration, commitment and dedication, we are assured that teams at Zuellig Pharma will continue to deliver and make healthcare accessible to the communities we serve in decades to come.