The Economist Group
The Cost of Silence
Amgen, a global biopharmaceutical company, operates to promote healthy ageing and improve the lives of those
who suffer from serious diseases. The world’s population of people over 60 is growing; already nearing 1bn. United
Nations predicts that by 2050 this figure will reach 2.1bn, with around half of these living in Asia. In such an
environment, one of the biggest challenges for Amgen is to create awareness of some of the leading diseases in Asia.
There are two focus areas: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Osteoporosis (OP). CVD is the leading cause of death in
the world, and one of the biggest barriers to ageing well. The risk factors that lead to CVD— such as smoking, high
blood pressure and high cholesterol — continue to escalate in the Asia region despite a great deal of knowledge and
number of lifestyle and medical preventions available. In addition, OP which causes bones to become less dense and
more fragile, is the most common reason for a broken bone amongst the elderly, affecting around one in three
women over the age of 50 worldwide and one in five men. The awareness of these diseases, along with any
improvements across healthcare systems starts with one key target audience: the policy makers.
Our strategy was to focus on the quality of audience, over quantity. Our primary objective was to create urgency of
these diseases and prompt action by policy makers. We focused on engaging with the most meaningful audience
who can bring about change in policy, along with key stakeholders close to the disease. Given the niche audience, we
believed a smaller but meaningful audience was the key to our success. Our approach to this was to engage an
intimate group of stakeholders, face –to-face, in various cities across Asia to have a constructive discussion around
To effectively prompt action among this audience, we knew we had to create urgency around the disease and to
foster a community of stakeholders who were eager to bring about change. Our research, focusing on the cost
burden of CVD, found that the rising costs of treating the disease are challenging the sustainability of many
healthcare financing models in the region. This became the basis of the discussion, to provide fresh insights based
on fact-based data points. With OP we wanted to increase awareness of the disease through an emotional approach,
humanising the impact that OP has on the older demographic in Asia.
We created series of content deliverables illustrating the impact of CVD, including a thought-leadership whitepaper
and infographic on “The Cost of Silence: cardiovascular disease in Asia.” Amgen also was a key sponsor to our
Longevity Summit 2018 held in Singapore, hosted by The Economist Events. Attracting over 150 attendees active in
the healthcare industry, the full day event catered to discussing pressing issues in the field. To further engage and
create a stronger relationship with those that are close to the matter, we conducted six market specific roundtable
meetings in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and China. We invited policy makers, academics,
healthcare professions and practitioners to discuss the implications of the diseases in each market. The research
was used as a foundation for these meetings, where the statistics and cost implications of the diseases in each
market served as common ground for comparison. The objective of these meetings was to identify tangible
solutions to tacking the disease through a discussion facilitated by an Economist Intelligence Unit editor.
To extend the reach of the content beyond the key audience, we also conducted a press event in Hong Kong to
launch the research findings, along with online media activation.
We are conscious significant change takes time, especially when impacting policy change. In a year, we have made
traction and are heading towards the right direction.
• Longevity Summit in Singapore: attracted 160 attendees, 72% of attendees being director level and above. 3% were
also from government agencies.
• Roundtables across six markets: each market attracted approximately 15 individuals, engaging a total of 90
individuals across policy makers, economists, academics and practitioners. Among the invitees included Advisor to
the Ministry of Health at the Government of Japan, Minister from the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Taiwan,
among others across the region. Fruitful discussions were had and we continue to engage the attendees. We are
now planning for second and third rounds of meetings for 2019.
• We held a media event for the launch of the CVD whitepaper, attracting attendance of more than 15 media
publications, resulting in over 10 media coverage. The content also had over 600 downloads from our online hub,
• Perhaps the most significant is the creation of the Asia Pacific Fragility Fracture Alliance in November 2018. This is a cross-disciplinary, multi-sector response to the fragility fracture calling for swift implementation of mobility maintaining strategies to enable older people to live well, and independently, for as long as possible.