P&G's global community healthcare initiatives
Earlier this year, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) was ranked fifth by Fortune Magazine in its list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. Last year, it made over $82 billion through sales of its health and beauty products, which include Nice ’n Easy, Olay, Gillette and Braun. Despite being one of the biggest manufacturers of consumer goods, P&G uses its success to implement sustainable healthcare initiatives across the world.
The company has a mission to improve people’s lives on a day-to-day basis and although it aims to do this primarily through its brands, the company has a ‘Live, Learn and Thrive’ cause which delivers this mission on a wider scale.
P&G’s Live, Learn & Thrive Initiative:
Healthcare Global spoke to Malie Carnegie, the Managing Director of P&G Australia and New Zealand to see how the company, both globally and locally, supports community healthcare programmes.
What does P&G do to improve people’s lives on a daily basis?
Our passion at P&G is to improve the lives of consumers with brands and products that make life a little better every day. We do this in three main ways – through innovation, our operations and our commitment to social responsibility.
When it comes to innovation, P&G spends over $2 billion a year globally on research and development, significantly more than any other company in our industry.
P&G also has a long track record for our social responsibility programs, another way in which we work to improve the lives of consumers. Locally, we donated around $800,000 in the last financial year to various charities and social responsibility efforts, which represents a 20 percent increase from the previous year.
Tell me about P&G’s Live, Learn and Thrive cause.
P&G’s Live, Learn and Thrive program focuses on improving the lives of children and young people. Since its inception, we have improved life for more than 300 million children around the world and it is estimated that every second of every day, two children benefit from its initiatives.
There are more than 100 Live, Learn and Thrive programs taking place in over 60 countries, from providing life-saving vaccinations and safe water in Africa, to safe homes across Europe, to educational opportunities in Asia, to essential nutrition in North America, to early childhood development in Latin America.
As part as one of the initiatives, the Vicks Road to Relief Program, P&G has spent the last 14 months working with UNICEF to immuniseapproximately 4.3 million children against measles to prevent pneumonia. It is doing this by donating one vaccination for each pack of Vicks purchased.
Which is the biggest Live, Learn and Thrive program?
One of the largest efforts is the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program. Almost one billion people in the developing world do not have access to clean drinking water and as a result, thousands of children die every day. The Program reaches these people through PUR packets, a water purifying technology developed by P&G and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One small PUR packet quickly turns 10 litresof dirty, potentially deadly water into clean, drinkable water. The packets can be used anywhere in the world, including areas affected by natural disaster.
Since the program began, more than three billion litres of purified drinking water in more than 60 countries have prevented an estimated 120 million days of diarrheal illness and helped to save more than 16,000 lives.
A personal experience of P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program:
What does P&G Australia and New Zealand do to contribute to Live, Learn and Thrive?
‘Born to Live, Learn and Thrive’ is our local program – a partnership with children’s welfare charity Save The Children to support children in at-risk situations. We are also working with Barnardos to deliver our Oral-B Health Program which has a vision to enable every Australian to achieve a healthier mouth through better access to dental services, education and proven performing products.
To date, the Oral-B Health Program has focused on dedicating this support to children. During the 2010/2011 financial year a mobile van provided free dental health check-ups and education focused on simple oral hygiene and brushing habits to children and families around the country.
This is important because in Australia, dental work due to decay is the most common reason for hospital admissions in children, accounting for more stays than injuries and respiratory conditions such as asthma. With oral health issues closely associated with heart disease, strokes and diabetes later in life, the potential impact of oral health on general health is huge.
Beyond the mobile van, donations from the Oral-B Health Program have been used to fund a grants program for children in regional areas to access much needed dental services. This is being operated through Barnardos with the assistance of the Australian Association of Paediatric Dentists.
Are there any plans for P&G to evolve and branch into the pharmaceutical and medical industry?
P&G is committed to growing its healthcare business. In March we announced the signing of a master agreement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to create a partnership in consumer healthcare by bringing together companies’ existing over the counter (OTC) medicines and complementary capabilities to accelerate growth.
This new business model, which focuses purely on OTC products and not prescription products, will combine P&G’s strong brand building consumer and market capabilities with Teva’s broad geographic reach, its experience in R&D, regulatory and manufacturing and its extensive portfolio of products. I believe this unique partnership positions P&G and Teva to be a leading player in the consumer healthcare industry. This is a remarkable opportunity to accelerate growth for both companies’ OTC businesses. Together, we will serve more consumers in more parts of the world, more completely, by increasing access to high quality, affordable over the counter medicines.
Finally, what do you believe had been the key to P&G’s success?
P&G’s success comes back to our commitment to improving people’s everyday lives through our products and social responsibility initiatives. If you are committed to improving lives you also need to improve the communities where P&G and our consumers live and work. This commitment is at the core of our success.
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How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats
One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority. In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.
The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics.
From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world.
The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years.
This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate.
Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.
To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care.
Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change.
It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device.
These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.
Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement:
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.
In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.
Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents.
Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.
This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents.
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.
Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.
As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.
Fighting future threats
With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.
To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced.
This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.