Solving Pressing Healthcare Issues in Russia's Regions

A new approach to treating cancer and cardiac diseases can strengthen the economy of the Russian regions and improve the health of the population.


A large pharmaceutical company needed to develop a strategy to enable the Russian regions to address pressing issues in healthcare, specifically treating oncological and cardiovascular diseases more effectively. The company believed that a massive change its total approach to treating such diseases was needed– from prevention to diagnostics to prescribing treatment. The company asked Burk to help with the development of this program. We were asked to analyze global best practices in healthcare and suggest solutions that would permit improvements in the population’s health quickly and cost efficiently, as well as enable more effective treatment of serious diseases.


The Burk team examined the healthcare system in the Russian regions and analyzed the entire patient-care process from the detection and diagnosis to prescribing drugs and recommendations for lifestyle changes. The team compared current practices with international practices to develop a set of rules that would – if complied with – improve significantly the efficiency of treatment and healthcare in general. We helped the company find appropriate experts, establish relations with regional authorities to gain their support for the company’s vision, and arrange discussions with key health service decision-makers.

With a consensus to move forward with certain program changes, we worked with stakeholders to develop an action plan for the company and regional authorities to implement jointly. When selecting the workstreams, the Burk team focused on relatively low-cost, but effective solutions, which had proved successful in other countries. We helped identify and prioritize programs based upon their potential to improve the general health level of the population, increase the efficiency of resource use within the healthcare system, and save the greatest number of patient lives s. We also assessed the economic impact of the suggested programs to make it easier for public health officers to have these programs included in regional budgets and ensure their co-financing by the regional authorities.


While the company’s representatives and regional authorities were generally aware of the severity of the cardiac and cancer incidence facing Russia, our analysis allowed them to understand the core of these problems and quantify their economic impact to society. They also realized that patient outcomes and improvements to the healthcare system could be made without large-scale investments.

The programs developed during the project were approved by the authorities of several regions and included in their regional budgets. In the long term, similar solutions could be implemented in other Russian regions who suffer from cancer and cardiac disease. Representatives of the pharmaceutical company now have a deeper insight into the decision-making mechanisms at the municipal and regional levels, the priorities of regional authorities, and the opportunities for cooperating with the government.