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Ahead of International Women’s Day, Organon Calls for Recognition of the Impacts of Underinvesting in Women’s Health

1% of healthcare research and innovation is invested in conditions unique to women

In its second year as a company, 10,000 employees around the world, including over 400 employees in Organon’s Middle East North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) region will receive paid time off to dedicate International Women’s Day in service of women’s health

DUBAI, UAE, Feb. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — For far too long, women’s health issues have been underfunded, under researched and underserved. Leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8, Organon (NYSE: OGN), a global women’s health company, is challenging the healthcare ecosystem – along with academia, investors, policymakers, researchers, and others – to consider the consequences of continuing to treat women’s health as an afterthought. For the second consecutive year, the company is also providing its employees, including over 400 employees in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey region (MENAT), with paid time off to shine a light and speak out in service of women’s health.

Ramy Koussa, Associate Vice President for the MENAT region at Organon

Women account for more than half of the population and mothers make approximately 80% of health care decisions.1 Despite this, tremendous gaps exist in research and development efforts to advance treatment options for women. In fact, only 1% of healthcare research and innovation is invested in conditions unique to women, according to a 2020 study,2 Across the MENAT region, plenty of untapped opportunities and challenges remain. According to a Q4 2021 analysis released by FemTech Analytics – a subsidiary of the UK-based Deep Knowledge Group –  investment in healthtech in the MENA region grew by 280% but none directed at femtech (women-led health start-ups). Furthermore, according to the report, MENA’s overall share of the total number of femtech companies barely reaches 6%.3

“The launch of Organon in the MENAT region came with a promise to deliver a better and healthier world to women and their families. As a company that is focused on innovations that improve women’s health, it is pivotal for us to understand and address the needs of our over 400 employees in the region. For our second year as a young company, Organon is launching a global initiative on the occasion of International Women’s Day where all employees will receive paid time off to focus on their health and wellbeing” said Ramy Koussa, Associate Vice President for the MENAT region at Organon.

Mr. Koussa added: “The first step of advancing women’s health is listening to women, to understand her needs truly. Moreover, to achieve this goal, it is vital to engage all relevant stakeholders involved and committed to this cause, and we call on these stakeholders to join us in marking international women’s day with us. In the MENAT region, since we launched our company in the region, we have been engaged in multiple activities, panels, initiatives, and projects to support her health and raise awareness about her needs. We continue to work closely with key government stakeholders and various medical societies to educate and empower women”.

Multiple research and studies across numerous areas of women’s health reveal crucial and dangerous gaps that impact nearly all stages of a woman’s lifer life. For instance:

  • Menopause: Women can experience physical symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, for up to ten years.4 These symptoms can disrupt sleep, lower energy and affect emotional health as well as productivity in the workplace. One study found that 83% of respondents felt menopause negatively affected their day-to-day.5,6 Another study shows that the average age for menopause in the Middle East is 46.9-47.8.7
  • Maternal health: According to UNICEF, while the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) declined by 50 per cent in the MENA region from 1990 to 2015 (from 220 to 110 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) much is to be left to be done. The main causes of maternal mortality in the MENA region are pregnancy and delivery-related complications such as hemorrhage and abnormal bleeding, hypertensive disorders, maternal sepsis and other related infections.
  • Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a common and chronic condition that affects up to 1 in 10 women of reproductive age, causes severe abdominal pain and is associated with infertility.8 Endometriosis can also limit economic opportunities for some women who experience debilitating pain that prevents them from going to work or school.9,10 The prevalence of endometriosis is estimated to be 12.9% in Middle Eastern women undergoing laparoscopy.11

About Organon

Organon is a global healthcare company with a focus on improving the health of women throughout their lives. Organon has a portfolio of more than 60 medicines and products across a range of therapeutic areas. Led by the women’s health portfolio coupled with an expanding biosimilars business and stable franchise of established medicines, Organon’s products produce strong cash flows that will support investments in innovation and future growth opportunities in women’s health. In addition, Organon is pursuing opportunities to collaborate with biopharmaceutical innovators looking to commercialize their products by leveraging its scale and presence in fast growing international markets.

Organon has a global footprint with significant scale and geographic reach, world-class commercial capabilities, and approximately 10,000 employees with headquarters located in Jersey City, New Jersey

For more information, visit https://www.organon.com/menat-en/ and connect with us on LinkedInInstagram, Twitter and Facebook.

1 “General facts on women and job based health,” Employee Benefits Security Administration fact sheet, US Department of Labor.
2 Evaluate Medtech (accessed July 2021); Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2021; Pharmaprojects (accessed July 2021); Report of the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health, Fiscal Years 2017–2018: Office of Research on Women’s Health and NIH Support for Research on Women’s Health, National Institutes of Health, Office of Research on Women’s Health, October 2019
3 https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/emea/uae-leads-femtech-gulf-major-challenges-remain
4 Watkins, E. (2018). Menopause. Physician Assistant Clinics, 3(3), 373–383. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpha.2018.02.006
5 Menopause. (2023, January 1). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397
6 Driving the change: Menopause and the workplace. (2021, March 30). Circle In. https://circlein.com/research-and-guides/menopause-at-work/
7 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-28526-y
8 Endometriosis. (n.d.). Who.int. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/endometriosis
9 Nnoaham, K. E., Hummelshoj, L., Webster, P., d’Hooghe, T., de Cicco Nardone, F., de Cicco Nardone, C., Jenkinson, C., Kennedy, S. H., Zondervan, K. T., & World Endometriosis Research Foundation Global Study of Women’s Health consortium. (2011). Impact of endometriosis on quality of life and work productivity: a multicenter study across ten countries. Fertility and Sterility, 96(2), 366-373.e8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.05.090
10 Culley, L., Law, C., Hudson, N., Denny, E., Mitchell, H., Baumgarten, M., & Raine-Fenning, N. (2013). The social and psychological impact of endometriosis on women’s lives: a critical narrative review. Human Reproduction Update, 19(6), 625–639. https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmt027
11 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8593935/#B13

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