Dr Philip Bruggman, Zurich, Switzerland
Dr Bruggmann is an internal medicine specialist and has worked as head of internal medicine at Arud in Zurich, Switzerland since 2003. He is also currently serving as head of the executive board of Swiss Hepatitis. In this function he leads the Swiss Hepatitis Strategy project. He is also a founding member and former president of International Network on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users.
Engaging people who inject drugs and working in the community to educate healthcare practitioners and give them the knowledge and skills to expand hepatitis C care beyond hospital settings
As the founding member and former President of the International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU), an international organisation dedicated to scientific knowledge exchange and translation, Dr Philip Bruggmann embodies the role of a NOhep Medical Visionary.
Not only is Dr. Bruggmann an internal medicine specialist, he also currently serves as head of the executive board of Swiss Hepatitis. In this capacity, he leads the Swiss Hepatitis Strategy project and uses his position to advocate for the prevention, treatment and care of HIV and hepatitis C viral infection, particularly among people who use drugs.
Dr Bruggmann firmly believes multi-stakeholder collaboration is key to the elimination of viral hepatitis, both in and outside healthcare settings. For example, the Swiss Hepatitis Strategy network combines the expertise of civil society groups, patient organisations, doctors, the scientific industry, health authorities, politicians, health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, to tackle all aspects of the disease from testing and treatment, to engaging highrisk groups. Dr Bruggmann also advocates for other medical professionals like addiction medicine doctors as well as general practitioners (GPs) to play a key role in diagnosing and linking patients to care.
Over the last few years, Dr Bruggmann has been working with opiate substitution units and GPs who are licensed to prescribe opiate substitutions.
He realised that many GPs and opiate substitution units in Switzerland were not testing for hepatitis or offering treatment, which meant that many people were slipping through the net. In response, he and his organisation began to work with relevant medical professionals, providing training and education on how to test for viral hepatitis and oversee the patient’s treatment.
A key element in his work was to educate his colleagues about the new treatments for hepatitis C and the positive impact they have on the lives of their patients. Investing in peer-to-peer education has had a huge impact on the numbers of people living with the disease who are now seeking out treatment. One of the key principles of being a NOhep Medical Visionary is a willingness to collaborate with all internal and external stakeholders to advance action towards our goal of elimination. Dr Bruggman is an excellent example of what can be achieved when we all work together.