Bupa invests $18m in super pill to fight heart disease and high blood pressure


Australia’s largest health insurer, Bupa, today confirmed it had invested $18m in George Health Enterprises, the commercial arm of The George Institute for Global Health.


Bupa is one of three investors contributing a combined $53m to support the development of pioneering polypill treatments for high blood pressure and heart disease. Polypills combine a number of related medications into one tablet, improving compliance and reducing medication errors.

The funding injection will mean that these super pills for high blood pressure and heart disease, which have already been successfully trialled by The George Institute, will now reach patients in Australia and globally within the next five years.

These include:

  • A low dose triple pill approach that has been shown to outperform traditional high blood pressure treatments without additional side effects. A trial revealed 70 per cent of those on the triple pill reached their blood pressure target compared to just over half on normal therapy.
  • A four in one pill that has led to a 40 per cent increase in patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke sticking to their life-saving treatments. Trials have consistently shown that polypills reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol, to levels that could halve the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

“High blood pressure affects more than six million Australians each year. It is also a leading risk factor for heart disease which is the number one killer in Australia. We urgently need new medications to target these conditions and our treatments have the potential to save many lives, not just here in Australia but globally,” said Professor Stephen MacMahon, Co-Founder and Principal Director of The George Institute.

Staph Leavenworth Bakali, Chief Executive Officer and President of George Health Enterprises said: “This cements Australia’s status as a global player in producing research that delivers real impact. Polypills have vast potential to transform healthcare around the world and it’s a credit to Australia that we have led this world-class research, conducted the trials and now have the local funding to ensure these drugs reach the many millions of people that need them.”

Bupa’s Managing Director of Health Insurance, Dr Dwayne Crombie, said the investment was not a health insurance related decision, but rather a commitment to innovative new models of care for better health outcomes.

“Our purpose at Bupa is to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives,” Dr Crombie said.

“This investment will make a real difference to the healthcare outcomes for millions of people, both in Australia and around the world and is another way we can bring that purpose to life.

“It’s an opportunity to support innovative thinking in the health sector which will ultimately improve medication compliance and availability for people with heart disease or high blood pressure,” Dr Crombie said.

Bupa’s investment builds on an initial relationship with The George Institute in 2016.