Imagine if patients across Australia had access to life-changing drugs faster than ever before.
Now they do, thanks to a new software platform developed by University of Wollongong (UOW), Sydney Business School graduate Jason Macey.
Shortly after graduating with an Executive MBA (EMBA), Jason founded MedTech business Imagine If Health and launched a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for Medicines Access Programs, connecting doctors, pharmacists and patients to life-changing medicines not yet listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Medicines Access Programs (MAPs) give patients deferred cost, cost-free or subsidised access to innovative new medicines that aren’t on the PBS.
“These programs are often the only way for patients to get innovative new medicines outside of clinical trials,” says Jason.
“Right now, accessing new medicines isn’t as easy as it should be,” says Jason.
“People think if a drug is not on the PBS, or available through a clinical trial, it’s out of reach and inaccessible. But that’s not the case. MAPs are immensely valuable in providing access to medicines typically unavailable through other usual funding mechanisms. And while pharmaceutical companies do amazing work in developing life-changing medicines, when it comes to getting the drug to market, they often struggle with technology, and this often dramatically slows its entry to the consumer market.”
This is where Imagine If Health comes in, focused on solving the complex access problems for both pharmaceutical companies and patients. Through the creation of a specially designed SaaS model, access programs are now quick to implement, highly scalable, and easy to use, allowing pharmaceutical companies to deliver innovative medicines seamlessly with technology that reflects modern expectations.
Jason studied pharmacology and medicinal chemistry at the University of Sydney, graduating with an honours degree in 2000. He spent more than a decade honing his skills in the pharmaceutical industry, “a world where science and business collide”, before enrolling in an EMBA at Sydney Business School, UOW.
“I always intended to do an MBA but I wanted to make sure I had enough workplace experience and that the timing was right,” he explains. “One of the key reasons I chose the Sydney Business School, UOW EMBA is because of the flexibility. I wanted a mix of online and face-to-face interactions and an ability to build networks.
“These days, learning can be so transactional. You can go online and watch a variety of content from YouTube or listen to podcasts, but what you can’t get is the enriching experience of being in the classroom with a diverse range of people with varied backgrounds and life experiences. My world was wholly pharma, medical and clinical. So to spend time with miners and lawyers and other businesspeople was incredibly valuable. We all had very different perspectives, shaped by our industries.”
Jason’s EMBA degree gave him the tools he needed to develop a platform that provides a superior user experience for “time poor” pharma professionals, doctors and pharmacists, and gives patients better access to medicines.
He is also collaborating with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) to streamline medicines access program patient data collection into real-world evidence, using the Imagine If Health platform.
“Collected in real-time, this data can offer huge value and help support better decision making,” Jason says.
“This collaboration has the ability to accelerate robust research on emerging cancer treatments.”
Oncology has been a passion for Jason, who says he has always loved medicine and its ability to transform people’s lives.
“It can take a number of years to get an oncology drug funded on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,” he explains. “That was my motivation to start this company. I saw so many people miss out on medicines that are now on the PBS, but it took many years for them to get there. I wanted to make the tech an enabler, not a barrier, and give pharmaceutical companies a platform that allows them to get medicines to patients as fast as possible. And most importantly improve the quality of life for patients.”
Jason believes Imagine If Health has filled an important service gap in the Australian healthcare industry.
“'Imagine if’ is something I have heard a lot throughout my life - always in an aspirational context,” he says, explaining how his company got its name.
“My kids always use it to create a better world in which they want to live, rather than just accepting the world they see around them. This is the same for the pharmaceutical industry. Imagine what is possible for patients when we think differently and then act on it.”
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