Gilead Sciences Taiwan Shows the Power of Partnerships

The medicine we take, along with the pharmaceutical manufacturers that produce it, can often feel impersonal – a relationship defined more by science than by warmth. Gilead Sciences is changing this dynamic with its patient-centric approach, infusing each tablet with a tangible sense of security, support, and care. As Gilead Sciences Taiwan celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2024, there is no better advocate or leader to represent these values than General Manager Cathy Su.  

“Gilead launched the first single-tablet regimen for HIV in the United States in 2006, and that inspired me to join the company in 2007,” says Cathy. “Gilead operates in disease areas often neglected or ignored, and it maintains a strong growth mindset by addressing critical, unmet medical needs.” 

Gilead has made significant advancements in the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and COVID-19 and has recently expanded into oncology. The company’s relentless innovation includes repurposing an antiviral drug originally developed for Ebola into clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment. The drug demonstrated strong patient outcomes and received swift approval from the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration, marking a successful pivot in its application that proved highly effective against the virus. 

Gilead Sciences Taiwan General Manager Cathy Su

“What our team achieved at that time was somewhat miraculous,” says Cathy. The exceptional teamwork displayed during the crisis stands as a testament to Gilead’s ability to collaborate with stakeholders and government agencies, ultimately saving countless lives. 

Partnerships between Gilead Taiwan and various community organizations, NGOs, and the government are strengthening. Back in 2018, when the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control launched its subsidy program for PrEP (HIV prevention), Gilead Sciences Taiwan donated medicines to support the initiative. The joint goal was to lower new infections and reach the UNAIDS’ 95-95-95 goal. Additionally, Gilead Taiwan has supported the Formosa Cancer Foundation’s efforts to promote the Taiwan Multi-Support Cancer Drug Fund, aimed at accelerating access to new cancer treatments and enhancing health equity. 

Cathy’s experience with health equity is a vital resource to Gilead’s fast-approaching status as Taiwan’s most patient-centric pharmaceutical provider.  

“In 2023, we took great pride in partnering with the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) for HBV reimbursement expansion. This was a critical step in policy change that enabled Taiwan to achieve the WHO’s goal to control viral hepatitis by 2030,” she says.  

HBV is highly prevalent in Asia, and with a prevalence rate of around 10%, Taiwan is no exception. In addition to the partnership with the NHIA, Gilead also distributes US$4 million through its biennial grant program ALL4LIVER, aimed at supporting community-led, innovative projects targeting hepatitis B, C, and D. Of the 10 organizations in Asia awarded the 2023 grant, three are based in Taiwan. 

While introducing the first single-tablet regimen was a groundbreaking step in HIV care, Gilead is still steadfast in its commitment to finding a cure to end the HIV epidemic. What’s challenging now is there is still stigma and discrimination toward the chronic disease, and addressing those attitudes has become critical in fighting against it, says Cathy.

Through the Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant launched in 2018, Gilead has distributed nearly US$6 million to 144 community-based projects that have supported screening, testing, and counseling for HIV for approximately 130,000 people. In 2022, Gilead became the partner of IAS – the International AIDS Society, launching the “Me & My Healthcare Provider” campaign to champion stigma-free HIV care services. The initiative aims to foster a more inclusive healthcare system through recognizing and encouraging frontline workers. 

“When you have all of these voices working together, the message becomes elevated and heard, which triggers a change,” says Cathy. “We want to involve all stakeholders in breeding ideas that create a healthier world for all people.”