Our People

Meet our leaders at MSD BeLux: Rietja Hart, Finance Lead

June, 14, 2023

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We are continuing a series of articles in which we would like to introduce you to our leaders at MSD BeLux, to get to know what drives them in their roles, what it’s like to lead at MSD BeLux, and what it’s like being part of a company with such a significant impact on the world.

Finance serves as an integral part of our leadership team as they analyze every day financial activities and provide advice and guidance on future finance plans. They are the root of all major business decisions, and their role is crucial to the success of any organization.

But what makes our Finance Lead, Rietja so passionate about financial affairs?

“I enjoy working within Finance as it touches all parts of the organization, providing a large diversity in the topics that we are involved in, and having both a short- and long-term focus. Together with my team we aim to provide the best possible support to our business stakeholders, partnering together to ensure that company resources are both optimally deployed and accurately reported. I am energized when I see what the power of a strong team and collaboration can accomplish together.”  

I feel supported by our company’s values and ways of working, which include the respect of others and embracing diversity & inclusion.

“I have always worked within Finance and Pharmaceuticals, however I sought to broaden my experiences by supporting different parts of the organization, from early-stage Research to late-stage Development, Production and Sales. In addition, I worked at different levels of the organization, currently within a local subsidiary but previously in Regional and Corporate positions. I have also had the opportunity within MSD to work in 5 different countries, gaining different cultural experiences. I moved to Belgium and joined the team almost 2 years ago, and despite COVID restrictions I became quickly integrated within the team.”

At MSD, we are committed to investing in personal growth and development. It is important to be open to trying something new, and to experiment, learn and adapt as you do. Continuous learning is not only important, but it also keeps things interesting!

“I take this topic seriously, and I would encourage people to have regular development discussions on this. Not only with your direct manager, but also actively seek feedback from others, and leverage one of the number of mentoring programs that are available within MSD. It helps to be clear in your career aspirations, to identify the optimal developmental actions to focus on and best prepare you for the next step.

It’s important to continuously build your portfolio of skills and experiences. I have sought to diversify my career by supporting different parts of the organization, at different levels, and in different countries. Each new environment helped me to broaden my knowledge, experience, and skills.”

We will continue the series with more interesting stories from our top leaders. So, stay tuned!

Our People

Katrien De Vos appointed to Managing Director, MSD Belgium & Luxembourg

May, 8, 2023

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Katrien De Vos

Katrien De Vos has taken the lead of MSD Belgium & Luxembourg since Monday, May 1.  In her new role of Managing Director, she takes over from An Cloet, External Affairs Director at MSD Belgium, who held the position ad interim for the past 6 months.

Prior to joining MSD, Katrien De Vos held various national and international positions at AstraZeneca for more than a decade. In 2020, she was appointed Country President of AstraZeneca Switzerland. Under her leadership, AstraZeneca was recognized as one of the best employers in Switzerland for the third year in a row. She led a diverse team there in which more than 50 percent of management positions are held by women. Throughout her entire career in the pharmaceutical sector, Katrien De Vos has focused on the strategic growth of the company, building strong teams, developing talent, and fostering a great workplace for all employees.

Katrien De Vos is Belgian and holds a doctorate in applied sciences in personalized diagnostics from Ghent University and a professional degree in business administration from Vlerick Business School.

“I am extremely proud to now be part of a great team of about a hundred employees at MSD Belgium & Luxembourg. They are committed every day to addressing important public health challenges by developing innovative medicines and vaccines. I am also excited to be working in Belgium again: while working abroad, I realized how much Belgium is known worldwide for its academic research centers, university hospitals and pharmaceutical industry, which together provide invaluable scientific expertise. I look forward to working with the entire Belgian health ecosystem to make innovation accessible to as many patients as possible,” said Katrien De Vos.

BE-NON-01743 – Date of last revision 05/2023

Katrien De Vos nommée directrice générale de MSD Belgium & Luxembourg

Depuis le 1er mai Katrien De Vos a repris la direction de MSD Belgium & Luxembourg. Elle succède à An Cloet, External Affairs Director pour MSD Belgium, qui exerça le poste de directrice générale de MSD Belgium & Luxembourg ad interim durant les 6 derniers mois.

Avant de rejoindre MSD, Katrien De Vos a occupé diverses fonctions nationales et internationales pour AstraZeneca pendant plus de dix ans, jusqu’à prendre la direction générale d’AstraZeneca Suisse en 2020. Sous sa direction, AstraZeneca a été reconnue comme l’un des meilleurs employeurs de Suisse pour la troisième année consécutive, avec une équipe diversifiée où plus de 50% des postes de direction sont occupés par des femmes. Tout au long de sa carrière dans l’industrie pharmaceutique, Katrien De Vos s’est concentrée sur la croissance stratégique de l’entreprise, la constitution d’équipes solides, le développement des talents et la promotion d’un lieu de travail agréable pour tous les employés.

Née en Belgique, Katrien De Vos est titulaire d’un doctorat en sciences appliquées dans le domaine des diagnostics personnalisés, délivré par l’université de Gand, ainsi que d’un certificat professionnel en administration des affaires de la Vlerick Business School.

« Je suis particulièrement fière de rejoindre la centaine d’employés de MSD Belgium & Luxembourg qui s’efforce chaque jour de répondre aux grands enjeux de santé publique, grâce au développement de médicaments et de vaccins innovants. Je suis également très heureuse de revenir en Belgique. A l’étranger, j’ai pu me rendre compte à quel point la Belgique était reconnue mondialement pour ses centres de recherche académiques, ses hôpitaux universitaires et son industrie pharmaceutique qui offrent une expertise scientifique inestimable. Je suis impatiente de collaborer avec l’ensemble de l’écosystème de santé en Belgique afin de rendre l’innovation accessible au plus grand nombre de patients », commente Katrien De Vos.

BE-NON-01743 – Date of last revision 05/2023

Katrien De Vos benoemd tot algemeen directeur van MSD Belgium & Luxembourg

Katrien De Vos heeft op maandag 1 mei de leiding van MSD Belgium & Luxembourg overgenomen. Ze neemt hierbij het roer over van An Cloet, External Affairs Director bij MSD Belgium, die de functie de afgelopen 6 maanden ad interim uitoefende.

Voordat Katrien De Vos bij MSD aan de slag ging, bekleedde ze meer dan tien jaar diverse nationale en internationale functies bij AstraZeneca. In 2020 werd ze benoemd tot Country President van AstraZeneca Zwitserland. Onder haar leiding is AstraZeneca voor het derde jaar op rij erkend als een van de beste werkgevers in Zwitserland. Ze stuurde er een divers team aan waarin meer dan 50% van de managementfuncties door vrouwen worden uitgeoefend. Gedurende haar volledige carrière in de farmaceutische sector heeft Katrien De Vos zich toegespitst op de strategische groei van het bedrijf, het opbouwen van sterke teams, het ontwikkelen van talent en het bevorderen van een geweldige werkplek voor alle medewerkers.

Katrien De Vos is Belgische en behaalde een doctoraat in de toegepaste wetenschappen op het gebied van gepersonaliseerde diagnostiek aan de Universiteit Gent en een professioneel diploma bedrijfskunde aan de Vlerick Business School.

“Ik ben bijzonder trots om nu deel uit te maken van een geweldig team van ongeveer honderd medewerkers bij MSD Belgium & Luxembourg. Ze zetten zich elke dag in om belangrijke uitdagingen op het gebied van volksgezondheid aan te gaan door innovatieve geneesmiddelen en vaccins te ontwikkelen. Ik ben ook verheugd om opnieuw in België aan de slag te gaan: terwijl ik aan de slag was in het buitenland besefte ik hoezeer België wereldwijd bekend staat om zijn academische onderzoekscentra, universitaire ziekenhuizen en farmaceutische industrie, die samen een wetenschappelijke expertise van onschatbare waarde bieden. Ik kijk ernaar uit om met het hele Belgische gezondheidsecosysteem samen te werken om innovatie toegankelijk te maken voor zoveel mogelijk patiënten,” zegt Katrien De Vos.

BE-NON-01743 – Date of last revision 05/2023

Our People

Meet our leaders at MSD BeLux: Dr. Laurent Viérin, Country Medical Director

June, 14, 2023

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We are starting a series of articles in which we would like to introduce you to our leaders at MSD BeLux, to get to know what drives them in their roles, what it’s like to lead at MSD BeLux, and what it’s like being part of a company with such a significant impact on the world.

Medical Affairs colleagues are the face of the company.

Since they interact with the medical community, the Medical Affairs (MA) colleagues are the face of the company, and their scientific expertise helps them in these interactions. Our MA Department only includes professionals with a strong scientific background, often complemented by a Ph.D.

Our MA colleagues are the pre-eminent scientific experts in their therapeutic areas. With the knowledge and expertise they have on our products, the disease, and the broader environment, they stay true to our mission “to communicate and generate medical evidence to help those responsible for healthcare decisions make informed choices that improve access and health outcomes for patients”.

We bring value to the different development phases of our medicines.

The MA department’s main activities span from the clinical development of our molecules to post-approval activities. The team interacts with many internal stakeholders, such as the clinical trial organization colleagues, the regulatory departments, and the pharmacovigilance teams, as well as the market access and commercial groups. The MA team is one of the departments that work most intensively with all other departments in the MSD organization.

Because our focus is on scientifically/medically driven conversations and activities, we interact with all external stakeholders, such as healthcare professionals and other decision-makers for whom science matters, and the in-depth knowledge of our products is important to their decision-making.

“We develop medicines and vaccines that can potentially save and improve the lives of so many people. When thinking about our rich pipeline that addresses all of these unmet needs, I feel a sense of responsibility to bring those innovations to the people that need them. Our goal as a department is to drive and support the progress of our pipeline products towards ultimate access for patients.

Working day after day in collaboration with other motivated colleagues that strive toward that objective is, I must say, very rewarding and gives me a strong sense of pride.”

We will continue the series with more interesting stories from our top leaders. So, stay tuned!

Pneumococcal diseases

Together against pneumococcal diseases.

The pneumococcal diseases group a certain type of infections caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. These diseases can range from ear and sinus infections to pneumonia and bloodstream infections.1

Yearly, Streptococcus pneumoniae causes nearly 5800 hospitalisations2 and 430 deaths2 in Belgian adults above the age of 50. For the 65+ population, the mortality rate reaches 12%.3

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430 patients above the age of 50 die of IPD* every year.2

On a yearly basis, Invasive Pneumococcal Diseases result in death for 430 Belgian adults above the age of 50.2

This is roughly the amount of people you would need to fill 3 busses.

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Yearly, 5800 patients above the age of 50 get hospitalised.2

5800 Belgian patients end up in the hospital because of a pneumococcal infection.2 These patients are all adults above the age of 50.

This is almost 6 times the entire population of Flanders’ smallest city.4

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The Superior Health Council recommends vaccination3 for IPD.*

The Superior Health Council has been recommending pneumococcal vaccination for healthy adults above the age of 653, and certain groups at risk since 2014.

WHY is there no publicly funded program in place?

Publicly funded vaccination for adults

Why is there no publicly funded program for adults in place?

Despite a positive recommendation from the Belgian Superior Health Council, the vaccination rate in Flanders is very low (only 8.6%5), much lower than influenza (51.9%5) and COVID-19 (80%).6 This is partly due to the fact that the vaccine is not publicly funded for adults in Belgium.

There is a momentum of European countries like the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden who already have a government funded program.7, 8, 9

Belgium is one of the only Western European countries without a publicly funded program for adults.7–15


What are the numbers on
hospitalisation and deaths?

For adults above the age of 50, the chance at hospitalisation is lower in comparison to adults above the age of 65. Yet, pneumococcal diseases cause 5800 adults above the age of 50 to be hospitalised every year.2

As people get older, the chance of developing severe symptoms leading to hospitalisation and death increases. For adults above the age of 65, the mortality rate is 12%. For adults above the age of 85, the percentage doubles to a mortality rate of 24%.3

How can we prevent pneumococcal diseases

Several ways of protection against pneumococcal diseases exist, with appropriate hygienic measures and with vaccination.

You need to avoid any close contact with sick people. You need to wash your hands regularly and to adopt hygienic measures when you sneeze, cough or blow your nose.

You can also get vaccinated.

Is vaccination recommended?

Due to the high number of yearly hospitalisations and deaths, and the great risk at cardiovascular complications, vaccination is recommended by both health officials and the Superior Health Council.3

Despite this recommendation, less than 10% of the adults at risk get vaccinated.3 There is also no publicly funded vaccination program in place.

Why is there no vaccination program in place?

The low vaccination rate is is partly due to the lack of publicly funded vaccinations for adults. In contrast to other Western European countries, like The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, Belgium does not have publicly funded vaccinations for adults.7, 8, 9 Therefore we must raise awareness to the severity of this disease and the need for a publicly funded vaccination for older adults.

This is how you can help!

You can help by raising awareness if you agree that pneumococcal diseases can have an important impact and that preventive measures are needed.

You can do this by sharing this webpage, talking to your friends and family, or by downloading and sharing the information brochure on pneumococcal diseases and their consequences.

For more info on pneumococcal diseases, visit www.pneumoinfo.be

* IPD: Invasive Pneumococcal Diseases
* SHC: Superior Health Council


1. https://www.gezondheidenwetenschap.be/richtlijnen/preventie-van-ernstige-pneumokokkeninfecties. Last Access: 01/2023.
2. Federaal Kenniscentrum voor Gezondheidszorg. Welke Pneumokokkenvaccinatie bij ouderen? KCE; 2016 Rapport 274As. Last Access: 01/2023.
3. Hoge Gezondheidsraad. Vaccinatie tegen pneumokokken (volwassenen). Brussel: HGR; 2022. Advies nr 9674. Last Access: 01/2023.
4. https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lijst_van_steden_in_Vlaanderen. Last Access: 01/2023.
5. https://www.sciensano.be/sites/default/files/va_nl_2018.pdf. Last Access: 01/2023.
6. https://covid-vaccinatie.be/en. Last Access: 01/2023.
7. https://www.nivel.nl/sites/default/files/bestanden/1004078.pdf. Last Access: 01/2023.
8. https://www.ssi.dk/aktuelt/nyhedsbreve/epi-nyt/2020/uge-44-45---2020. Last Access: 01/2023.
9. https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/the-public-health-agency-of-sweden/communicable-disease-control/vaccinations/vaccination-programmes/#:~:text=In%20Sweden%2C%20children%20are%20offered,children%20and%20adults%20at%20risk. Last Access: 01/2023.
10. https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/hcpinfo/othervaccines/pneumo/. Last access: 01/2023.
11. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaccine-update-issue-320-april-2021-european-immunisation-week-special-edition/vaccine-update-issue-320-april-2021-european-immunisation-week-special-edition. Last access: 01/2023.
12. https://www.sanidad.gob.es/en/profesionales/saludPublica/prevPromocion/vacunaciones/programasDeVacunacion/docs/Neumococo_Gruposriesgo.pdf. Last access: 01/2023.
13. https://www.dgs.pt/normas-orientacoes-e-informacoes/normas-e-circulares-normativas/norma-n-0112015-de-23062015-pdf.aspx. Last access: 01/2023.
14. https://www.ordinefarmacistirimini.it/files/indicazioni_organizzative_per_lofferta_ai_65enni_della_vaccinazione_antipneumococcica.pdf. Last access: 01/2023.
15. https://szu.cz/tema/vakciny/ockovaci-kalendar-v-cr?highlightWords=O%C4%8Dkovac%C3%AD+kalend%C3%A1%C5%99+%C4%8CR. Last access: 01/2023.
16. Kimberly M. et al. Rates of pneumococcal disease in adults with chronic medical conditions. Pneumococcal disease in adults OFID 2018.

BE-NON-01594. Date of last revision: 03/2023.

Our People

Meet our leaders at MSD BeLux: Philippe Decerf, Business Operations Lead

June, 14, 2023

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We are starting a series of articles in which we would like to introduce you to our leaders at MSD BeLux, to get to know what drives them in their roles, what it’s like to lead at MSD BeLux, and what it’s like being part of a company with such a significant impact on the world.

Business Operations (Bus.Ops.) serves as a guide for our company. This unit acts as a fail-safe, limiting our risks and helping the company avoid operational problems.

Our Bus.Ops. team oversees many processes that allow this company to function effectively. We prepare for change and seize opportunities. Imagine what would happen:

  • if our products were no longer available on the market or could no longer be delivered to our customers (ONE, wholesalers, pharmacists, etc.) on time?
  • if some of our activities did not comply with the laws or MSD standards? What would the impact in the media be and, more importantly, what would this do to the image that our customers and patients have of MSD and its products?
  • if we had no knowledge, no contact points with the hospitals, and could not respond to their needs in an ever-changing hospital environment?

The Bus.Ops. team aims to become a hub of excellence to deliver the best customer experience internally and externally!

MSD provides the environment to help me shape my career and reach my fullest potential.

Long story short, I have been working at MSD as the Business Operations Lead for almost three years now. I started my career in this company, 25 years ago, as a medical representative. After five years, I became a sales manager covering many different therapeutic areas and leading several teams in primary care and hospital care. During this 10-year period, MSD gave me the opportunity to follow many training courses, and in project management (Six Sigma, etc.) specifically, which allowed me to engage with project management on both a local and regional level. MSD puts you in charge of your career!

My leadership style is both supportive and challenging.

“I don’t like the idea that there is one leadership style that’s better than the other. I think someone’s leadership style needs to align with the team, the individual, and the task. Anybody can be an expert or leader in their area. As a leader, you need to be supportive, which can be participative and/or directive. I prefer to talk about values and beliefs. I particularly love to challenge the status quo and use humor and respect in my interactions. I like processes, and I enjoy reviewing them to make things simpler, clearer, and more organized.”

We will continue the series with more interesting stories from our top leaders. So, stay tuned!

Patient Engagement

MSD supports the non-profit organization “Patient Empowerment”, led by Prof. Eeckman

December 31, 2022

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A person who falls ill loses their autonomy and independence. This can give rise to anger and frustration and even make the patient sicker. So, it is important not only to give the care recipient the best care but also to maintain, restore or even reinforce their sense of autonomy.

This is done through the way in which everyone involved in care communicates and interacts with the patient. In doing so, this also transcends the interpersonal relationship between the care recipient and care provider.

For example, at the reception desk in a hospital the patient may feel they are the passive recipient of treatment they must undergo. The complex bureaucracy of the healthcare system can also evoke this feeling. Respecting a sick person’s sense of autonomy therefore takes place on several levels and can only be successful if we all strive for and contribute to it together. ‘Together’ is therefore also a keyword within the daily functioning of the non-profit organization Patient Empowerment, of which Prof. Eeckman is the co-founder and current chairman.

Sustainability of the Patient Empowerment organization

“Without grant funding, Patient Empowerment cannot implement projects. The non-profit organization is looking for sustainable funding to help it run as efficiently as possible.

The partnership with MSD is essential. Moreover, MSD is a highly committed partner, which we greatly appreciate. Both organizations are working towards the same goal. After all, this is about a person’s well-being at perhaps the most vulnerable time in their life, namely when their health and sometimes their entire existence is threatened.”

Edgard Eeckman (Chairman)

Patient Empowerment is a high priority for MSD and PE. What does Patient Empowerment mean exactly?

Patient Empowerment is the process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health. The patient should be given the possibility of being in control of their own care process. The ultimate goal is for a patient to be well informed about what is happening to them, what can be done about their disease, the potential advantages and disadvantages of each treatment and as such, to be in a position to make a conscious decision in favor of a specific treatment and to consider this feasible. This results in a person who is sick being closely involved in what is happening to them during their personal treatment. They are as convinced of the importance of the treatment as the doctor. After all, they must both make decisions together. Once again, the word “together” pops up.

“Together we know so much more!” – MSD participated in the Patient Empowerment Symposium & campaign

This symposium kicked off the patient empowerment campaign: “You have more to tell to each other than you think.” How easy or difficult is it to bring these different parties (doctor, patient, hospital, company) together and get them to listen to each other?

Care recipients need caregivers, so dependence is inherent in this relationship. However, through communication, we can try to reduce the uncomfortable and unwanted feeling of dependency to the bare minimum. For this to succeed, it is important that they understand each other, and understanding begins with listening.

A caregiver such as a doctor must obviously listen to a care recipient because doctors are experts with valuable knowledge and experience. But healthcare providers must also listen to the patient. After all, it is not because something is possible from a medical perspective that a patient is also in favor of it. Patients may feel that the side effects are too great, that they must compromise too much on their values.

In the end stage of life this is obvious: if your life is about to end, does it still make sense to undergo a further surgical procedure? The surgeon may be able to justify this on medical grounds, but ultimately it is up to the patient to decide whether they still consider it worthwhile. That principle should apply throughout the entire healthcare system.

By the way, I believe that the patient should not be a partner in their care process, but the owner of it. My view is that the user should be the co-owner of the care system and should also have a say. The care recipient, care provider, and care organization share control and responsibility, and this should always involve mutual respect. To me, the care recipient is not just a “client” who can place an order, they also have a shared responsibility and duties.

Edgard Eeckman (Chairman – Patient Empowerment VZW)

All these aspects are covered in the associated campaign which started on October 26 with posters, social media posts, and videos with tips.

“Patient Empowerment for Healthcare Providers”1 Practice Book, Prof. E. Eeckman

The concept of Patient Empowerment entails communication as a means, not an end, that puts the care recipient in the driver’s seat. Some patients will naturally be empowered, some do not wish to be (and are free to choose), and others wish to be, but cannot. After all, a third of the Belgian population (aged 15 and over) has a low level of health literacy and this is why we need to support these people. How healthcare providers can empower patients is the topic of a new publication, the “Patient Empowerment for Healthcare Providers Practice Book,” published by Politeia. This book is packed with concrete tips. Ultimately, empowering the care recipient involves 1001 minor behavioral elements.

The book puts into practice the insights from Eeckman’s first book, ‘Balancing between power and powerlessness, Patient Empowerment as a basis for equivalence in the patient-doctor relationship’ (Politeia). It is based on his doctoral research (Communication Sciences VUB [University of Brussels]) and explains the concept of Patient Empowerment in an accessible way.

More information and details for how to order can be found here (Publicaties – Patient Empowerment)

[1] Dutch version only

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Patient Engagement at MSD BeLux

At MSD we strongly believe the risk of not engaging patients and their carers is much higher than the risk of engaging them. For too long we have developed medical solutions without the input and views of our ultimate customer, the person living with, or caring for a person with a life-impacting medical condition.

How we do this you may ask?

  • We aim at embedding the patient perspective in all cross-functional team plans and by doing so, we make it part of our company DNA. Are we there yet? Definitely not, but with the help of our patient partners we are getting there.
  • We have developed our own local patient involvement guidances and tools, safeguarding ethical and compliant conversations, with respect for local regulations and practice.
  • A pan-tumor oncology patient panel is advising MSD Belgium on a regular basis, allowing systematic patient input and ideation in projects of common interest.
  • We closely work with patients, caregivers and organisations to capture patients’ experiences, perspectives, needs, and priorities to inform MSD’s strategic decision-making and with the ultimate goal to improve the patient experience and outcome.
  • We partner with patient experts and organisations to advocate for policies that support patient access to innovative treatments.

As we expand beyond our traditional stakeholders with whom we engage and amplify engagement with patient stakeholders, it will be increasingly important to engage early, in full transparency with our partners and with regular feedback loops allowing us to learn, adjust and improve. This way of working will enable us to build stronger, short- and long-term relationships that are rooted in mutual trust and are in the best interest of patients.

Danielle Derijcke
Patient Engagement Manager, MSD BeLux


Cliniclowns bring resilience and lightness for children in need

June, 14, 2023

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Cliniclowns Logo

“Cliniclowns” visit sick or disabled children in hospitals and offer them a moment of joy. Cliniclowns put these children into the center of everything they do. Therefore, they deserve MSD Belux’s attention and support.

Cliniclowns Belgium has been sending professional clowns to sick and/or disabled children for over twenty years to give them comfort and offer them some distraction and fun. www.cliniclowns.be

Being sick is not pleasant, being very sick is unfair, being very sick and having to stay in the hospital is hard for everyone who goes through this, but even more so for a child.

MSD Belux take these hospital helpers or Cliniclowns seriously and really appreciate their job. Cliniclowns prove that laughter is the best medicine.

Making patients laugh is not simple, but good humor is needed now, more than ever. With a dedicated grant, MSD Belux helps Cliniclowns to visit even more children in hospitals and have a positive impact on the wellbeing of young patients!

“The support that Cliniclowns Belgium received from MSD Belux enables us to organize a Cliniclowns’ visit to no less than 200 children. We are extremely grateful that consequently, the clinic clowns can bring some relief to the patients themselves, but also to the parents who are very grateful with this extra boost for their child. In this way, these clowns’ visits achieve their goal!”

Valérie Van Gastel
General Director Cliniclowns Belgium


Launch of Coalition Next in Belgium

June, 14, 2023

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Coalition Next was first founded in 2020 in France by Digital Pharma Lab in the context of the Corona pandemic. It is a coalition of pharmaceutical industries, patient organizations, and healthcare organizations, that launches once or twice a year, a call for projects for start-ups in digital health and medical devices to meet the pre-identified needs of these organizations.

As the methodology has proven its success in France with more than 30 projects supported, in more than 50 healthcare institutions, for an amount of nearly €4.5m, concerning 20,000 patients, Coalition Next Belgium was launched in March 2020. MSD Belgium is one of the founding members and Azèle Mathieu, Innovation Lead, is its President for 2022. The Vice President is Dieter De Court, Innovation Manager at UZ Brussel.

Every week, Coalition Next Belgium gathers together its different members (note that any organization active in healthcare can still join CNB) who are convinced that together it is possible to co-create our future healthcare system by implementing digital solutions to address the main challenges of the Belgian healthcare system. Concretely, the pharmaceutical companies commit to finance the implementation of the start-up’s solution in the hospital if the project makes sense to them. This offers an excellent opportunity for healthcare organizations to benefit from expertise in selecting innovative projects and financial support for the implementation of the selected solution.

The following organizations are currently members of Coalition Next Belgium:

  • AZ Delta
  • AZ Groeninge
  • AZ Maria Middelares
  • AZ Sint Maarten
  • AZ Voorkempen
  • Brugman UHC
  • Cliniques de l’Europe
  • Eli Lilly
  • I-Mens
  • Imec.istart
  • Ipsen
  • Jules Bordet Institute
  • Lifetech.brussels
  • MSD Belgium
  • Novartis Belux
  • Roche Diagnostics
  • Roche Pharmaceuticals
  • Shared Patient Experience (SPX)
  • Takeda
  • UZ Brussels

The first call for projects shall be launched in September 2022.

For more details, please visit: Coalition Next Belgium