At UCB, we know we’re stronger when we work together. Read more from Patty Fritz, VP of U.S. Corporate Affairs, about how UCB adapted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to met the new unique needs of the patients, caregivers, health care providers, and health systems we’re committed to serving.
'As I reflect on all that has happened this year, I cannot help but think about how much has changed over the past few months. I remember the first of many important updates I sent to my team about COVID-19. Little did I know, the way we operated at UCB would soon also change – from how and where we worked to the new unique needs of the patients, caregivers, health care providers, and health systems we’re committed to serving.
At UCB, we know we’re stronger when we work together. The pandemic has required us to increase our agility as a company to adapt to the quickly changing coronavirus landscape – being more collaborative, supportive, and innovative than ever before to ensure we were playing our part in the response efforts. It is striking to reflect on all that we had to rethink and reimagine, always guided by some key principles – first and foremost ensure the safety of our employees and the uninterrupted supply of medicines to patients.
Being present, while not physically, has been a key component of managing through the early weeks and months of what we often now refer to as post-COVID-19. Connectivity across teams, aligning our decisions across a common set of principles and recommendations, ensuring the technology tools are available and importantly engaging at a regular cadence to authentically share experiences. There is no guidebook for leading through a pandemic, and I have learned that resilience and adaptability are essential.
At UCB, we recognized that we had skills and capabilities that could also help us understand this new coronavirus. Our scientists began actively working with the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease to identify crystal structures of SARS-CoV-2 proteins to be used to develop treatments and vaccines.
And beyond scientific contributions, we recognized we needed to do more for patients, our local communities, and our employees during this difficult time, including:
- Ensuring patients facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic have uninterrupted access to their needed physician-prescribed treatments and support from UCB. UCB expanded our existing Patient Assistance Program (PAP) to help eligible patients who have been impacted by COVID-19 by expediting enrollment to help ensure uninterrupted access to their medicines at no cost. In addition, UCB is participating in Express Scripts’ Parachute Rx offering to help patients who are newly uninsured due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are also not covered under any other federal health care program. Further, our ucbCARES team stands ready to help answer questions or provide information/resources to patients, patient advocacy groups, caregivers, and health care providers.
We want to ensure our stakeholders know that we’re here to help in any way we can to lessen the burden of patients during this challenging time. More information can be found on our COVID-19 Response landing page.
- Stepping up on contributions to organizations working on the front lines of the COVID-19 relief efforts, totaling support for more than 30 organizations across the country with more than $1 million contributed around the world. Some organizations we were honored to support include hospitals, volunteer and charity organizations, food funds and pantries, as well as local organizations and businesses supporting those on the frontlines of caring for COVID-19 patients. These contributions are part of our contributions globally to bring much needed relief in other countries where we live and work.
To play our part in the global response to the pandemic, we also launched the new UCB Community Health Fund with an initial contribution of more than $3 million from UCB. Managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, the Fund aims to address health disparities among vulnerable populations. To start, the Fund will focus on contributing to understanding and reducing the medium- and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical, mental, and social well-being of vulnerable populations.
- Volunteering in the communities where we live and work to play our part in the COVID-19 response. Serving others is in our DNA at UCB. Each year, UCB employees get 32-hours of time off to volunteer their time at non-profits of their choice, and COVID-19 has not slowed us down from using those hours to help others during this difficult time. Our employees have volunteered through a variety of ways, such as collecting snacks to donate to health care workers, contactless meal deliveries to those who are home bound, virtual tutoring and crisis counseling, sewing masks for community members and health care workers, grocery shopping for elderly community members, and more.
- Supporting our employees with additional engagement and working to ensure their well-being during this difficult time. We believe that in order to fulfill our mission of delivering value to patients living with severe disease, we must first ensure the well-being and engagement of our employees. This month, UCB launched its first Employee Hardship Fund, which provides financial assistance to UCB employees experiencing severe and unusual financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. The funds are requested and received confidentially, knowing that each of our employees have unique difficult situations they may be facing. Further, we offer all our employees and their household members access to a confidential support hotline to help with a variety of mental health issues. We also are engaging our employees in new and creative ways from step challenges, photo contests, newsletters, virtual town halls, and videos – doing what we can to allow for as many opportunities for employees to engage, share their feedback, and tell us how they’re feeling during this time so we can ensure we are meeting their needs, together.
We know to get through these challenging times in our society, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent events of racial injustice, we must generously support each other. That is why UCB continues to be committed to be an active contributor to the relief efforts for patients here at home and across the globe, our local communities, and our UCB family. We are stronger together.'