Patient Advocacy and Community Engagement at Alkermes

Dec 11, 2023 2:20 PM ET

Originally published in Alkermes September 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report

We have developed and now manufacture and commercialize proprietary medicines for the treatment of alcohol dependence, opioid dependence, schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder - disease areas with vulnerable patient populations who are often treated in public health and criminal justice settings where systemic inequities are pervasive.

We champion approaches to treatment that recognize the multitude of factors that affect outcomes for patients, caregivers and communities, and are committed to patient and community engagement, disease education and awareness and advocacy for policies that support equitable access to treatment options. Patient advocacy and community engagement are core to our mission. Regular engagements with policymakers and leaders in the patient advocacy community allow us to better understand their perspectives and goals. Learnings from these interactions help to inform our business activities, including with respect to clinical trials, policy and advocacy. Across our endeavors, we are purposeful about staying connected to the reality of living with these complex conditions. We actively seek input from patients and advocates early in our drug development process to help identify unmet patient needs and inform our research. These engagement efforts help us design clinical trials and programs with specific patient outcomes in mind. We continue to consult with patients during the drug development process and beyond, so that patient perspectives continue to inform the development and lifecycle management of our products.

Driven by our patient-centered ethos, we advocate for, among other things, improved access to medicines and other forms of treatment. However, we also understand that access to treatment options addresses only a portion of the needs of the patients, families and communities for whom we develop our medicines. We are committed to working with the people affected by addiction, serious mental illness and cancer, and the organizations that support them, to better understand the complex system of care for these diseases and to achieve our common goal of improving outcomes for these patients and their caregivers.

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging in Clinical Trials Task Force

Alkermes recognizes the need for increased diversity in populations of patients participating in clinical trials. In 2022, we formed an internal “Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging in Clinical Research Task Force”, whose goal is to monitor and share critical DIB-related resources and developments across many areas, including regulatory bodies, U.S. federal, state and local governments and healthcare organizations. This crossfunctional group convenes quarterly and is working to implement a strategic plan aimed at raising awareness and adoption of data-driven solutions to increase diverse representation across our clinical trial programs.


Alkermes believes that every patient deserves quality care, and we are committed to collaborating with policymakers and other industry stakeholders to preserve and enhance access to medicines. We strive to price our medicines in a responsible manner that facilitates broad access. We also offer programs, such as Patient Assistance Programs and CoPay Savings Programs, to provide support to eligible patients who are prescribed our medicines. In 2022, more than 22,000 patients participated in our Co-Pay Savings Programs.

Early Access Policy

Alkermes endeavors to make safe and effective medicines by conducting rigorous clinical trials and obtaining marketing approval from regulatory authorities, including the FDA. Participation in one of our clinical trials is the optimal way for patients to gain access to our investigational medicines prior to regulatory approval.

However, we understand that some patients may not be able to participate in a clinical trial. If early data from our clinical trials suggest that an investigational treatment might offer benefits for patients facing serious or lifethreatening conditions, Alkermes has a policy under which patients may be eligible to receive access to an investigational medicine outside of the context of a clinical trial. Additional details, including eligibility criteria, can be found in the Alkermes Early Access Policy, a copy of which is available on the Early Access page of the Research & Development section of the Company’s website.

Supporting Our Communities

Alkermes respects the culture, customs and values of the people in the communities in which we operate. We seek to support and positively impact our communities through our grant programs, sponsorship contributions and employee volunteer support.


We foster and maintain relationships with a variety of health-related and public policy organizations in our local communities. In 2022, we continued to sponsor non-profit organizations such as Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, and increased awareness of programs and initiatives of other organizations that work to improve the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. In oncology, we sponsored several initiatives with tumorspecific and pan-tumor advocacy organizations, including the Melanoma Research Foundation, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, National Comprehensive Cancer Care Network and Cancer Support Community, which are focused on patient, survivor and caregiver support, education and research.

Funding in Support of Research and Charitable Organizations

Innovative research, programming and funding are urgently needed to support those who are living with addiction, serious mental illness and cancer. In 2022, Alkermes awarded approximately $1.6 million in research grants and charitable donations in support of these communities.

Between 2016 and 2022, the Alkermes Inspiration Grants® program awarded more than $4.5 million in funding to innovative programs that support the needs of people impacted by addiction, serious mental illness and cancer.

In 2022, we received nearly 250 applications for this highly competitive program, and grants were awarded to nine nonprofit organizations working to address the needs of people living with these complex conditions, including programs serving historically under-resourced or underrepresented communities, including Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), members of the LGBTQ+ community, veterans, women and people impacted by the U.S. criminal justice system.

The nine grant recipients included the following:

  • Young People in Recovery’s Native American Youth Substance Use Disorder Recovery Support Services Pilot redesigned its existing life-skills curriculum programs to be linguistically and culturally appropriate for Native American youths who struggle with substance misuse or are in recovery.
  • The Foundation for Women’s Cancer’s “Move the Message campaign” was designed to motivate high-risk and historically marginalized communities to take preventive action by increasing awareness of gynecologic cancers through dissemination of vital resources.
  • APA Foundation’s Building Bridges to Care partnership aimed to foster dialogue to improve the understanding of mental health and substance use disorders, reduce stigma and increase connections to care with local community organizations, including faith-based organizations.

Since 2016, the Alkermes Pathways Research Awards® program has provided funding to 23 researchers working to advance our understanding of diseases in the field of neuroscience.

The annual program provides opportunities for individual grants of up to $100,000 per research project for early-career investigators focused on research relating to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Information about past grant recipients can be found on the Research & Medical Grants page of the Research & Development section of our website.

5th Annual Alkermes Pathways Research Awards Program Recipients

  • Jessica M. Lipschitz, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Applying mobile sensors for mood episode prediction and disease trajectory classification in bipolar disorder: towards precision medicine
  • Xiaoting Wu, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Investigating and rescue of social cognition deficits in schizophrenia mouse models

Community Engagement

Our employees are passionate about helping to care for people and the environment in the local communities in which we work, supporting not only organizations and programs that are connected to the diseases that our medicines treat, but also causes to which they feel a personal connection through their own experience or that of their loved ones.

United States

In 2008, a group of employees started Alkermes in Action, an annual program of volunteering to support our local communities with hands-on activities that align with our values and embody our compassion. Since that time, more than 5,000 volunteers have worked with more than 50 local community organizations, establishing meaningful, long-term relationships with many of them.

In 2022, the Alkermes in Action program consisted of inperson volunteer opportunities with local organizations across our sites. Employees came together to build beds for children in need, sorted donations for local shelters, prepared and served meals for those in need and helped maintain outdoor community spaces.


Alkermes employees in Ireland proudly support local organizations that seek to address a range of needs including mental health, cancer care, education, shelter and domestic abuse services and housing insecurity, among others. In 2022, this support was achieved through a combination of financial contributions and employee participation in virtual and in-person events. Some examples of the organizations and initiatives supported include:

  • Daffodil Day is the Irish Cancer Society’s biggest fundraiser, taking place annually in March and raising millions of Euros to support cancer patients and their loved ones with free advice, resources and critical cancer research. The celebration remained virtual in 2022, and employees were encouraged to donate to this cause and submit photos symbolizing hope.
  • Darkness into Light is a 5K run organized in support of Pieta House, which provides support to people affected by suicide and self-harm. In 2022, Alkermes employees took part in and volunteered at the event, in addition to providing personal financial contributions to the charity.
  • In 2022, Alkermes again partnered with the local secondary school in Athlone as part of a governmentsponsored program to support educational inclusion. This long-running partnership aims to prepare students for the working world while also improving school retention rates for at-risk students by creating a link between education and future employment opportunities. In 2022, the program supported a 2nd year class. It involved four sessions supported by Alkermes employees that focused on teaching practical skills and providing first-hand insights into real-world work environments.

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