As the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across the world, the biopharmaceutical industry in Europe remains committed to global efforts to care for those affected, contain the outbreak and develop resources to tackle future outbreaks.
While governments contend with implementing appropriate public health measures and health systems are treating or preparing to treat unprecedented numbers of patients requiring intensive care, our industry is focused on three key areas:
The search for vaccines, diagnostics and treatments
Ensuring the supply of medicines to the patients that need them
Supporting governments and health systems on the ground
SFEE and its member companies donate hospital equipment, medical supplies, and sanitary material
SFEE in line with the national effort, to cope with the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the increased hospital needs, proceeded in consultation with the Ministry of Health in a significant donation of hospital equipment, medical supplies, and sanitary material personal protective items for the protection of healthcare professionals working in public hospitals in their fight against COVID-19 (donations worth approximately 2.250.000 euros).
To this end, SFEE and its member companies proceed with the purchase of priority material such as:
- 23 high-tech ICU ventilators,
- 123 ICU vital signs monitors,
- 300 aero chambers,
- 2 Digital radiography system (mobile),
- 25 Liquid and medical drug pumps,
- Antiseptic gels (22 tons of ethyl alcohol),
- An important donation of innovative medicine for COVID-19 treatment,
- 226,077 masks for doctors and nurses,
- 2,146 full-body protective suits,
- 3,168 special glasses,
- 54,574 shoe covers and
- 44 boxes of gloves (each containing 1,000 pairs).
Warmest thanks to the member companies that participated with the Association (in alphabetical order): AbbVie, Allergan, Amgen, Anabiosis, Angelini, AstraZeneca, Astellas, Bayer, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Chiesi, CSL Behring, Galenica, Genesis Pharma, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Ipsen, Janssen, Lavipharm, Lundbeck, Merck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pharmaserve-Lilly, Pfizer, Recordati, Roche, Servier, Sobi, Takeda and, UCB.
The Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE), as a responsible social partner, supports the National Health System as well as the Health Professionals in their daily fight on the front lines against COVID-19.
Members Update COVID-19
Below are just a few of many examples of how EFPIA member companies are supporting efforts in the detection, prevention, and treatment of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Angelini Group
- Boehringer Ingelheim
- Gilead Sciences
- J&J and Janssen
- LEO Pharma
- Novo Nordisk
- Pharmaserve-Lilly and Lilly
- Pierre Fabre
- Roche and Genentech
Abbvie - Members Update
In late January, the Chinese health authorities identified Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir) as a potential treatment for COVID-19 and requested supply. AbbVie donated approximately $2 million (USD) of Aluvia as an experimental option to help address the growing health crisis. AbbVie is also working with the WHO to ensure a coordinated global effort.
Allergan - Members Update
Angelini Group - Members Update
Angelini Pharma has donated a total of more than 20 tons of disinfectant to Italian regions (donated 10,000 bottles of Amuchina hand gel every week to Lombardy and Veneto, two of the worst-affected regions) and also donated an amount of 240,000 bottles of Amuchina to the Civil Protection Department and the Civil Guard.
Offered training to all its employees around the world for working from home (teleworking, the so-called Smart Working) providing tech support, offering widespread training in partnership with “Methodos” to employees, educational seminars and learning programs for their children and the whole family.
Angelini Foundation has announced its decision to support Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital with a donation of 1 million euros to help strengthen the research laboratories where, in February, COVID-19 was isolated for the first time in Italy.
Angelini Pharma Hellas
Angelini Pharma Hellas donated € 3,000 to the Ministry of Health for the purchase of hospital supplies such as 1.538 Facemasks, 107 Coverall Full Body, and 1.064 Shoe Covers, thereby contributing to the daily battle that the Greek Health System is facing against the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Furthermore, for its employees’ safety, provided and distributed great quantities of the disinfectant Amuchina to its staff and applied to telework and work in rotation to the largest part of the staff.
Astellas - Members Update
Astellas’ Efforts Against the Spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
With the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally, we are, as part of our mission as a pharmaceutical company, taking various actions and measures to contribute to securing the safety of patients and alleviating strain on healthcare resources. The following are our activities and status in the areas including the stable supply of products, contribution to the R&D of drugs, and assistance to regions where infection is spreading.
Continuation of business and maintaining a stable supply of products
We are currently forbidding our employees, except those instructed by the company, to work in offices and instead are having them work from home by using online digital tools. While we are basically refraining from sales activities, we continue to gather and provide necessary information to medical institutions in regions around the world in accordance with rules of each institution.
While placing the highest priority on the safety of our employees, in order to continue our social mission of ensuring a stable supply of drugs, complying with laws and regulations, managing safety, and providing information, our essential business continues to be carried out by those who have been instructed by the company under the business continuity plan with strict measures taken to prevent infections.
As for the supply of products, in particular, there are currently no problems as we have been able to maintain an adequate inventory level of raw materials and finished products, by closely cooperating with outsourcing manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials taking into account the continuation of business and the stable supply of products.
Ensuring patient safety and alleviating strain on healthcare resources
In an effort to help ensure patient safety and alleviate strain on healthcare resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are implementing changes to our clinical trial operations.
- In countries with a rapid growth of new COVID-19 cases, we are suspending start-up activities involving study sites for new interventional clinical studies. We are also suspending enrollment of new patients in ongoing studies.
- In countries no longer experiencing a rapid growth of COVID-19 cases, we are resuming or continuing study activities.
- Consistent with the recently issued guidance from US and EU regulatory bodies, we are assessing protocols and implementing measures to reduce the burden to healthcare systems while ensuring that patient safety is maintained.
We remain focused on protecting patients, employees and our business, while maintaining regulatory compliance and data integrity across clinical development programs.
Contributing to the R&D of drugs
We will continue to quickly take appropriate action by cooperating with bodies concerned in response to requests by the government such as the provisions of drugs.
In Japan, we are providing compounds in response to a request from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and National Institute of Infectious Diseases to cooperate in the “Basic Screening Plan for Drugs for Coronavirus Disease”.
We are also responding to requests from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Associations (EFPIA) and the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) to cooperate in “Activities Aimed at Developing Drugs for the Novel Virus” and providing consultation on countermeasures.
Activities in regions
- Astellas Pharma China, Inc. donated one million yuan to the Red Cross Society of China for purchasing protective clothing, masks, disinfecting solutions, and other equipment for healthcare professionals serving at hospitals in Wuhan, China, and procuring medical treatment equipment.
In addition, it has donated up to approximately 300,000 yuan worth personal protective equipment to the same society, which have been distributed to hospitals in Wuhan City.
- Astellas Pharma US, Inc. and the Astellas Global Health Foundation are each expanding support for global and local communities fighting COVID-19 by providing up to $2 million of new financial assistance, in aggregate, to meet the urgent demand for resources to help patients, health care workers, and first responders.
- The Astellas Global Health Foundation opened a Request for Proposal in April to enable emergency funding to select additional national and global humanitarian organizations who are working tirelessly to fight COVID-19 in countries where Astellas does not have a commercial presence.
- At a national level, in many affiliates, Astellas took actions to help humanitarian organizations working to support communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes Astellas’ corporate donations, among others, to public medical institutions, to the Ministries of Health, to Red Cross aiming to help their emergency efforts. The company has also coordinated opportunities to mobilize equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, blood donations employee contributions and volunteerism to meet the critical demand for time and resources where needs are most pressing
Astra - Members Update
Through its scientific expertise in infectious disease and proprietary antibody discovery technology, AstraZeneca has rapidly mobilized its research efforts to discovering novel coronavirus-neutralising antibodies as a treatment to prevent COVID-19 disease.
AstraZeneca is also donating nine million face masks to support health care workers around the world as they respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The company has partnered with the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform, created with the support of the World Health Organization, to identify countries in greatest need.
In addition to these donations, AstraZeneca is accelerating the development of its diagnostic testing capabilities to scale-up screening and is also working in partnership with governments on existing screening programs to supplement testing. Most recently, AstraZeneca has partnered with the University of Cambridge and GSK in the UK to support the Government’s response to the pandemic in expanding its testing capacity.
To help ensure the continued supply of its medicines to patients, AstraZeneca will screen employees across its manufacturing and supply network. The company’s research and development teams have also been working expeditiously to identify monoclonal antibodies to progress towards clinical trial evaluation as a treatment to prevent COVID-19. More than 50 virology, immunology, respiratory and protein engineering experts across research, clinical, regulatory and manufacturing are placing the highest priority on developing a treatment to minimize the global impact of the disease.
Additionally, AstraZeneca will initiate a randomized, global clinical trial to assess the potential of Calquence (acalabrutinib) in the treatment of the exaggerated immune response (cytokine storm) associated with COVID-19 infection in severely ill patients. The trial design is based upon strong scientific evidence supporting the role of the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) pathway in the production of inflammatory cytokines and on encouraging early clinical data. Calquence is a next-generation, highly selective BTK inhibitor currently used to treat certain types of blood cancers.
“The power of Together” #ΗDynamiTouMazi
Astra Zeneca’s message in the fight against SARS-CoV-2
Living up to its values and showcasing “The power of Together” as its core message, AstraZeneca biopharmaceuticals is taking dynamic initiatives both in Greece and on a global level by joining the fight against Sars-Cov-2 and contributing to this effort. The company sets as a priority to ensure the health of its employees and the constant supply of its medicines to the patients, as well as to provide support to the scientific and the healthcare community.
Focusing on patients
Our priority is to ensure both the continued supply of our medicines and their safety, quality and efficacy, thus enabling each patient to have access to necessary treatment, regardless of the circumstances. Moreover, we accelerate the development of diagnostics and we work collaboratively with governments in the implementation of existing screening programs in order to expand the capacity of testing systems. Our R&D teams work to identify monoclonal antibodies and to assess their use as a possible treatment of COVID-19 disease in clinical trials. We also team up with Oxford University to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, aiming at its large-scale manufacturing and distribution. Finally, we investigate how various of our medicines, already approved for the treatment of other diseases, might be used as possible treatments of COVID-19.
Focusing on ensuring the uninterrupted access of our oncology patients to medicines and treatments, we are launching a direct delivery service that will ensure delivery of medicines directly to a patient’s home on early May. We also support online training seminars implemented in collaboration with the Hellenic Patients’ Association and the “Alma Zois” patient association. At the same time, we understand patients’ need for communication and we wish to meaningfully contribute to the improvement of this new way of life dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic; to this end, we support the use of webinars that teach basic use of common information and communication platforms.
Scientific and healthcare community
Acknowledging the extraordinary struggle of the healthcare personnel, we send them our deep gratitude for their courageous efforts. Responding to the need of first-line medical professionals for continuous update, we have also organized global live webcasts where top experts and members of the global scientific community shared and talked about latest scientific developments regarding the spread of COVID-19 and the clinical experience in the treatment of patients. More than 69,000 healthcare professionals of various medical specialties in 152 countries joined these webcasts, along with more than 1,100 medical professionals from Greece.
In line with this philosophy, AstraZeneca donated 9 million face masks to support healthcare workers around the world. In Greece, we joined a national joint effort launched by SFEE (Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies) aiming at dealing with the rapid spread of COVID-19 disease and the increased hospital demand, by offering 4,000 FFP2 masks and 10 ICU vital signs monitors to the Ministry of Health.
To ensure health and safety for our employees, we implement measures to reduce the risk of the SARS-CoV-2 spread and transmission. The majority of our workforce works from home (teleworking). At the same time, employees placed in departments with a crucial role in the distribution of medicines, keep working in the distribution areas by taking all necessary precautions during this critical period.
Bayer - Members Update
Bayer AG has joined forces with other manufacturers in the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator Initiative, initiated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, thereby opening up their vast compound library to find and develop effective novel compounds against COVID-19. Bayer also responded to the European Innovation Medicine Initiative’s call for the “Development of therapeutics and diagnostics combatting coronavirus infections” with an in-kind contribution covering the screening of a molecular target against the Bayer substance library. They are ready to cooperate with international organizations, governments, authorities and scientific institutions around the globe to jointly explore options to better understand how Chloroquine (a product discovered by Bayer) can contribute to the treatment of patients infected with COVID-19. Bayer is also providing assistance to affected regions and countries. For instance, the company is supporting hospitals in Lombardy, Italy, with a donation of one million euros to help procure urgently needed equipment for intensive care units. Besides Italy, Bayer has already sent considerable financial and material support to China to help contain the pandemic.
Boehringer Ingelheim - Members Update
Boehringer Ingelheim immediately identified the areas of expertise, where we can best contribute to developing therapies for COVID-19 in close collaboration with academic researchers, international institutions and others in the pharma industry. Boehringer Ingelheim has joined a fast track call for project submissions to develop therapies and diagnostic tools initiated by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) of the European Union to accelerate the development of potential therapies for COVID-19. Boehringer Ingelheim is working to develop neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. In addition, we are investigating our existing pipeline and in-market compounds as well as compounds from former HIV and HCV research activities. Furthermore, Boehringer Ingelheim is conducting a computational screening of its entire molecule library of more than one million compounds with the aim of identifying novel small molecules with activity against the virus. Learn more about Boehringer Ingelheim’s engagement in the fight against COVID-19.
BMS - Members Update
Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has donated approximately $750,000 in cash and needed products to Wuhan city and Hubei province, through the Shanghai Red Cross Society. The BMS Foundation has separately provided support to two relief partner organisations to provide more than one million items of personal protection, including masks, gloves and coveralls, to healthcare professionals in key hospitals in Wuhan City. The BMS Foundation is also working closely with partners to ensure medical supplies are quickly distributed to frontline medical professionals treating patients in Wuhan. BMS is also diligently monitoring manufacturing and supply facilities across the globe, including in areas which have seen a greater impact, and at this time they do not anticipate disruptions to the supply of medicines for patients due to COVID-19.
Chiesi - Members Update
As a Benefit Corporation, Chiesi Group is committed to have a positive impact on society. In addition to the actions that Chiesi Group and its global affiliates have taken thus far to support patients, institutions and healthcare professionals during the pandemic, the Group has announced a €3 million fund to support efforts to address this crisis in Italy. This fund will support a range of actions including donations of personal protective equipment, ventilators and sanitising gel in response to requests from hospitals and other health institutions. The company has also made direct donations of drugs for respiratory diseases to hospitals in China and Italy. To date, Chiesi Group support and donations in Italy include among others:
- Donation of 50.000 units of sanitizing hand gel to public transport operators and personal protective equipment to hospitals.
- Donation of 66.000 pair of gloves
- Donation of 145.000 masks
- Collaboration with associations of general practitioners on advice and guidance, providing support for the purchase of respiratory equipment in hospitals that support COVID-19 patients.
- Partnership with local volunteer associations to offer financial or material donations and a commitment to maintain support as we identify new areas of intervention that the company can address.
- For more information, please visit https://www.chiesi.com/en/coronavirus/
Chiesi Hellas supports the battle against COVID-19
Chiesi Hellas supports in various ways the battle against COVID-19 in response to the critical condition that our country faces during the pandemic.
- Chiesi Hellas through the group health insurance program offers full coverage of the costs that an employee may incur if he is treated for COVID-19. The Emergency Management Team also provides regular information to all staff as well as helpful tips to promote a balance between personal and professional life while working remotely. In the context of Health and Safety, Chiesi Hellas employs 100% of its employees in smart-working. At the same time the company ensures the continuous supply of its products, making patients’ needs a top priority policy.
- We have reformed our #happyBREATHday digital COPD awareness campaign to include information regarding Covid-19 in collaboration with the Hellenic Thoracic Society and share such information with the public on social media (FB, YouTube and website).
- We organize online scientific webinars for HCPs in order to share information and experiences.
Moreover, we have responded to the below donation requests:
- At the hospital of Ioannina donation of 7 monitors Η8 and 300 aerochambers.
- At the hospital «PAMMAKARISTOS» donation of 200 aerochambers.
- At the hospital of Elefsina donation of 4 pulse oxymeters, 3 blood pressure monitors & 50 aerochambers.
- At the hospital of Alexandroupoli donation of 100 protective face shields and 160 aerochambers.
- At the hospital of Serres (Respiratory Clinic) donation of 2000€ for the purchase of an ultrasound system, donation 100 aerochambers & 50 protective face shields.
- At the hospital “ΑΤΤΙΚΟΝ” donation 200 aerochambers.
- At the hospital “Evaggelismos” donation 400 aerochambers.
- At the hospital «SOTIRIA» donation 450 aerochambers και 700 protective face shields.
- At the Greek Patients Association, donation of 5000€ for the campaign ‘’Together against the pandemic’’
Gilead Sciences - Members Update
Gilead responded swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic, harnessing decades of its antiviral expertise. The company is committed to putting its resources and research to bear as it works with regulatory authorities worldwide to advance potential treatments that may help in the global response to this public health emergency.
Gilead invented remdesivir with research that began more than a decade ago. Remdesivir is an investigational agent, which has not been approved anywhere globally and has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective for any use. However, it is thanks to multiple rounds of experimentation, failure and iteration that the company was in the position to understand the potential of it to treat COVID-19 and rapidly progress its development. This work started long before the outbreak of COVID-19. Remdesivir is the result of more than a decade of research, experimentation and iteration by Gilead scientists.
Since January, Gilead teams have been working day and night to determine whether remdesivir might work in patients with COVID-19. These efforts include collaboration with study investigators and governments on the various clinical trials. Recent developments show that remdesivir might play a role in easing the burden of the pandemic, as the outcome we all hoped would be possible.
If remdesivir is proven to be safe and effective to treat COVID-19, the company is committed to making it both accessible and affordable to governments and patients around the world. Gilead commits to providing all its current supply of remdesivir at no cost for use in clinical trials, compassionate use and expanded access programs, and following potential future regulatory authorizations globally. This represents 1.5 million individual doses or more than 140,000 treatment courses, assuming 10 days of treatment.
Our Relief efforts
For many years, Gilead has stood with community-based organizations that provide critical support to people living with HIV, viral hepatitis, cancer and other illnesses. It is in recognition of the importance of their work that we are launching the global Gilead CARES (COVID-19 Acute Relief and Emergency Support) Grantee Fund to help these groups remain financially sustainable for the long term. The fund will provide up to $20 million in donations to these nonprofit groups worldwide.
Gilead Sciences Hellas
Gilead Sciences Hellas is working closely with the Greek government, health organizations and healthcare providers to respond to this public health threat with the highest urgency.
To date, Gilead Sciences Hellas supported the Ministry of Health by offering:
- Respiratory equipment for the Intensive Care Units in hospitals that support COVID-19 patients;
- Personal protective equipment (masks, uniforms, glasses) to hospitals.
Gilead Hellas supported local patient associations initiatives such as:
- COVID-19 awareness & prevention program on 10 Greek prisons, providing antiseptics, masks, gloves and rapid tests;
- Distribution of health supplies (gloves and antiseptics), as well as food, water and other basic necessities to people living on the streets and are in need of urgent social protection.
Gilead Sciences Hellas has sponsored a field study of the Hellenic Society for the Study of AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Athens University Medical School, to assess COVID-19 prevalence and immunity among health care professionals and general population.
GlaxoSmithKline - Members Update
Supporting research and production of candidate COVID-19 vaccines
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is collaborating with companies and research groups across the world working on promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates through the use of our innovative vaccine adjuvant technology. The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it may reduce the amount of vaccine doses to be produced, and therefore contributing to the protection of more people.
GSK has announced that it has joined forces with Sanofi, bringing together two of the world’s largest vaccines companies in an unprecedented collaboration to fight COVID-19. The two companies will combine innovative technologies to develop an adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected to enter clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if successful and subject to regulatory considerations, aim to complete the development required for availability by the second half of 2021. This would be a significantly faster timeline than for normal vaccine development and teams from both companies are starting work on this urgently.
In addition to Sanofi, GSK is also collaborating with the University of Queensland, Clover Biopharmaceuticals and Xiamen Innovax Biotech Co., Ltd. in the hope that there will be a number of successful vaccines developed with its pandemic adjuvant technology.
Overall GSK does not expect to profit from its portfolio of collaborations for COVID-19 vaccines during this pandemic. As any short-term profit generated will be invested in support of coronavirus related research and long-term pandemic preparedness, either through GSK’s internal investments, or with external partners. Making its adjuvant available to the world’s poorest countries will also be a key part of the company’s efforts, including donations of this adjuvant, by working with governments and the global institutions that prioritise access.
Screening and research into new medicines
In addition to Vaccines GSK is also supporting screening and research into potential medicines for COVID-19.
GSK has announced a collaboration with Vir Biotechnology to use Vir’s monoclonal antibody platform technology to accelerate existing and identify new anti-viral antibodies that could be used as therapeutic or preventative options for COVID-19.
GSK is entering a new collaborative research effort, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, by making available compounds from its libraries for screening, with the aim of bringing forward the most promising molecules that could be used to treat cases of COVID-19.
GSK is also evaluating its marketed medicines and those in development, to determine if any could be used beyond their current indications, and evaluating options to make available our specialised laboratory space to help in research and testing of COVID-19.
Helping frontline health workers and offering expertise
GSK is donating $10 million to WHO and the UN Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to support WHO and partners prevent, detect and manage the pandemic, particularly where the needs are the greatest.
GSK is also donating surplus reagents to countries to support diagnostic testing, preparing to do the same for surplus personal protective equipment (PPE) and have initiated new volunteering processes for employees, to enable those with medical or specialist expertise to provide support to frontline health workers and national governments.
Taking action to deliver high-demand consumer healthcare products
GSK Consumer Healthcare is prioritising actions in its supply chain to deliver more consumer products that are in high demand, due to COVID-19. This includes increasing production for pain relief brands and multi-vitamins and dietary supplements.
Ipsen - Members Update
- Ipsen Global donated €2 million to the Institut Pasteur to support the 21 research projects currently ongoing to combat COVID-19.
- Ipsen Benelux donated 700 medical masks to various hospitals in Gent for healthcare workers on the front lines.
- Ipsen France is supporting France Biotech, MedTech and France Digital in a public-private initiative, “Health Innovation Coalition – Health Crisis” to alleviate congestion in the healthcare system and ensure patients with diseases unrelated to COVID-19 experience no disruption in treatment. Regional initiatives in France also include donations of 500 gowns to local hospitals, while ensuring patients are still able to receive the medicines they need, donation of medical masks and medical gloves to local healthcare workers.
- Ipsen Greece donated two ventilators for intensive care units following a call from local health authorities who were anticipating a shortage in medical equipment.
- Ipsen Iberia is working on a program where all coupon restaurants of the teams for March and April will be donated to the Red Cross.
- Ipsen Italy allocated its entire 2020 Grants and Donations budget to the Bergamo Hospital in northern Italy, one of the regions hit hardest by COVID-19, for the purchase of ventilators and non-invasive ventilating materials. Furthermore, a sum of money will be donated to the Italian Civil Protection, which coordinates health efforts throughout the country, plus a newly created delivery service of oral oncological drugs for patients with kidney cancer.
Information on other ongoing initiatives outside Europe can be found here.
J&J and Janssen - Members Update
On 30 March 2020 Johnson & Johnson announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs it has been working on since January 2020. The Company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorisation in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.
Thanks to J&J diversification, size and scale, it has been able to take rapid action across its Pharmaceutical, Consumer and Medical Devices businesses, as well as their Supply Chain and other supporting functions, to help stay ahead of the pandemic. Beyond seeking an optimal vaccine candidate, to date J&J efforts have included: Making available currently marketed antivirals to test their potential efficacy; Collaborating with industry partners to screen a library of antiviral molecules, with the aim to identify potential treatments; Working with regulators, healthcare organisations, institutions and communities worldwide to maximise their research platforms; Supporting healthcare professionals through making available tools, such as personal equipment (for instance via a RMB 1 million donation to the China Red Cross Foundation), a surgical generator and other devices for the newly-built isolation hospitals, protective suits, and a million masks among others; Last but not least, working with Governments to bring support on the ground, such as the ongoing cooperation with Belgium to use Janssen own laboratories in Beerse to significantly increase the capacity for COVID-19 testing. Cooperation also includes the new production of disinfectant hand liquid in Janssen Manufacturing Plant in Geel (Belgium).
LEO Pharma is taking part in helping societies cope with the COVID-19 health crisis. Our contributions are guided by the needs of health authorities. Current initiatives include:
- Employee volunteering guidelines introduced at LEO Pharma locations
- Financial and in-kind support to emergency response operations in severely affected regions
- In Northern Italy, LEO Pharma has made donation to the region of Lombardy, the Italian region that bore the brunt of the COVID-19 outbreak. This donation will help the local hospitals in their fight against COVID-19.
- In Spain, LEO Pharma has donated dermatological treatments in collaboration a local organization (SEMERGEN) for their distribution in Primary Care Centers throughout Spain. The objective is to help treat dermatological complications of health workers due to extreme safety and hygiene measures such as constant hand washing, the use of disinfectant hydroalcoholic solutions and protective equipment for long hours.
- In the Unites States, LEO Pharma Inc has made a donation to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRF) supporting resources to fight the medical, social, and economic impact of COVID-19 in communities across the state.;
- Supporting public health institutions with critical assets and advancing science to find curative treatments
- LEO Pharma is taking part in a pharma industry initiative supported by the European Commission to identify active compounds and compile a sample library for testing with the potential of reducing lead time for treatment development for COVID-19.
Menarini - Members Update
The Menarini Group has repurposed one of its manufacturing plants in Italy (normally dedicated to topical gels) to the manufacture of hand sanitising gel. The production capacity has also been upscaled passing from an initial 5 tonnes to 15 tonnes per week and is set to increase even further. The sanitising gel has been donated free of charge to hospitals and front-line personnel engaged in the battle against COVID-19, along with a number of lung ventilators and thousands of medical coveralls, gloves, face shields, goggles and, very shortly, 700.000 face masks.
The Menarini Group is also providing financial support as well as in-kind donations to organisations in the front line across Europe and beyond, commented Dr Eric Cornut, Chairman of Menarini Group.
Donations of Menarini Hellas during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Ministry of Health
Type of Donation: Financial support for the COVID-19 situation (according to the MOH’s situation)
- Cardiology Clinic, Univ. Crete
Type of Donation: Financial support of the Clinic (infrastructure for the COVID)
- Pneumonology Clinic, Univ. Ioannina
Type of Donation: 10 monitors for the telemonitoring of quarantined COVID patients
- General Hospital Didimoteichon
Type of Donation: Financial support (purchase of personal protective materials for the medical and nursing personnel of the hospital for COVID)
- Cardiology Clinic, Univ. Thessaly
Type of Donation: One digital cardiac echo device for the simplified screening of COVID suspect cases
- Intensive Care Unit, Evangelismos Hospital, Univ. Athens
Type of Donation: Ten (10) High Flow Oxygen systems for the support of respiratory failure
- Pneumonology Hospital ‘’ Sotiria’’, Athens
Type of Donation: Purchase of mobile radiology devices
Merck - Members Update
As part of the global effort to investigate potential therapeutics for COVID-19 and their support of independent research, Merck recently donated a supply of interferon beta-1a (Rebif®) to the French Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) following a request for use in a clinical trial. To date, Merck’s interferon beta-1a is not approved by any regulatory authority for the treatment of COVID-19 or for use as an antiviral agent. Merck has also supported China’s fight against the coronavirus with multiple donation efforts in cash and kind to three well respected local charitable organizations in order to support much needed medical aid. This includes products to support local institutions and invitro diagnostic manufactures to accelerate research, as well as virus diagnosis and testing efforts and personal protective equipment. Overall, the spread of the coronavirus also stresses the importance of pandemic preparedness – a topic that we continue to support with our € 1 million Merck Future Insight Prize.
Novartis - Members Update
Novartis announced a broad range of initiatives to respond to COVID-19 pandemic. The Novartis COVID-19 Response Fund will provide USD 20 million in grants to support public health initiatives designed to help communities manage challenges posed by the pandemic. The company has established an accelerated global review process for individual grants of up to USD 1 million. Novartis has also entered new collaborative research efforts such as the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, as well as a COVID-19 directed partnership organised by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). Additionally, in response to an urgent call for research and development on coronavirus, issued by EFPIA, Novartis is contributing by making available several compounds from its libraries that are considered suitable for in vitro antiviral testing. In addition, the company is continuously evaluating other existing products to see if any could be utilized beyond their approved indications in response to the pandemic. A first identified product is hydroxychloroquine, currently under evaluation in clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19, and of which Novartis committed to donate up to 130 million doses. Novartis Sandoz division will pursue appropriate regulatory authorisations and, upon approval, will work with stakeholders to determine how best to get this medicine to the patients who need it. Earlier this month, Sandoz, the company’s generics and biosimilars division, was the first company to commit to keeping prices stable for a basket of essential medicines that may help in the treatment of coronavirus cases. The company has also activated mitigation plans to ensure ongoing drug supply and smooth operations for its over 500 clinical studies.
Novartis Hellas is committed to helping the patients during the COVID-19 pandemic
Novartis Hellas is committed to helping the patients during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- They have started the program “Free Home Delivery” for the treatment of patients with serious chronic conditions
- They support initiatives that are closely related to diseases and encourage the use of digital solutions
- For the 2nd consecutive year, they plan the organization of the European Patient Innovation Summit and the Skill Development and Empowerment Seminar both of which are addressed to patients’ associations and are adapted to the digital age
Novartis Hellas goes on with the donation of various necessary items along with other initiatives
Novartis Hellas goes on with the donation of various necessary items along with other initiatives that include:
- Offering medical and technological equipment for ICUs
- Reinforcement of the technological equipment of the University Hospital of Ioannina
- Expansion of remote work for the Pasteur Institute employees
- Support of employees and their families
Novo Nordisk - Members Update
Novo Nordisk is helping the health authorities fight COVID-19 with a variety of initiatives. In response to a shortage of hand sanitiser products in Denmark, we are donating 20 tonnes of ethanol from our production facility in Kalundborg to help bridge the gap. In collaboration with partners including Carlsberg, the ethanol will be manufactured into hand sanitizer and provided to the Danish healthcare system in the coming days. As part of ongoing efforts to provide timely support and resources to the fight against COVID-19, Novo Nordisk will also donate 2,000 protective masks. These will be sent immediately to authorities in Southern Denmark where the need is most pressing. We have made financial donations to the Red Cross in China, as well as to hospitals in Croatia, Greece and Italy to help their efforts to treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Testing is a critical aspect of global efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and as of today, we are dedicating one of our HQ R&D laboratories outside Copenhagen towards this key task. In the UK, our Research Centre in Oxford is lending out laboratory equipment to the NHS to support COVID-19 testing. In Italy, we have given an unconditional contribution to Senior Italy FederAnziani, the largest federation for senior citizens, to establish a national toll-free number to provide psychological support and a listening to senior citizens isolated in their homes. The contribution also goes to support the public awareness campaign: Seniors & Coronavirus: rules against contagion from fake news and scams. For a full snapshot of our efforts click here.
Pfizer - Members Update
As a global healthcare company, we remain committed to supporting the relief efforts in impacted areas, to help governments and health partners fight against the disease.
For 170 years, our scientists and experts at Pfizer have addressed global health challenges. As part of our immediate response, we identified anti-viral compounds in our libraries which may have potential to address COVID-19. We are engaging with a third party to screen these compounds under an accelerated timeline and currently expect to have the results back by the end of March. We are also working with our partner BioNTech to co-develop a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
On a broader scale, Pfizer is committed to working as one team across the industry to harness our scientific expertise, technical skills and manufacturing capabilities to combat this evolving crisis. We have made five promises that will help scientists more rapidly bring forward therapies and vaccines to protect humankind from this escalating pandemic and prepare the industry to better respond to future global health crises.
Our Relief Efforts
Pfizer is grateful to the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic. We have an extensive global network of medical practitioners and experts, many of whom feel called to support their communities in the diagnosis, treatment and provision of public health support during this time. We respect their courage and selflessness to serve and have established a medical service policy that will allow these colleagues up to 13 weeks of paid leave, or longer if necessary, to provide this support.
Pfizer and the Pfizer Foundation have a long history of addressing humanitarian disasters. We are working with governments and international NGOs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by donating much needed medications and vaccines and working to support front line health workers.
In Italy, Pfizer’s affiliate is making available, free of charge, €2.5 million worth of medicines and vaccines that can be used in prevention and management of serious consequences related to COVID-19 in impacted regions. Pfizer is also dedicating resources to ensure safe and timely home delivery of essential drugs for patients with life threatening and rare diseases, such as haemophilia.
Lilly - Members Update
Lilly joined forces with AbCellera Biologics to co-develop antibody products for the treatment and prevention of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The collaboration will leverage AbCellera’s rapid pandemic response platform, developed under the DARPA Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) Program, and Lilly’s global capabilities for rapid development, manufacturing and distribution of therapeutic antibodies.
PHARMASERV-LILLY helps fight COVID-19 disease
Pharmaserve-Lilly contributes to the efforts of finding innovative solutions against the COVID-19 by taking part in clinical trials to develop a new medicine. At the same time, all the other clinical research programs of the company are going on normally and all participating patients have full access to their medication. Moreover, apart from its scientific contribution, the company has also donated the following medical items and equipment:
- 4.000 masks
- 386 full-body protection uniforms
- 255 protective goggles
Also, the company has made donations of materials to the:
- A’ Pathological Clinic of the Red Cross
- Mental Health Centre Serron
- Hospital of Argos Dionysios Filiotis, CEO, Pharmaserve-Lilly
- A’ Pediatric Clinic of Agia Sofia Children’s Hospital
Pierre Fabre - Members Update
In the context of the unprecedented public health emergency caused by Covid-19, hand sanitiser has become a staple product in the fight to protect public health. As the long-standing partner of dispensing pharmacists, the Pierre Fabre Group could not simply look on without taking action as the risk of shortages began to threaten a product that has now become a vital part of daily life. Since mid-March, staff from the Pierre Fabre dermo-cosmetics production and packaging plant in Soual, southwest France, have been fully mobilised to produce hydroalcoholic gel.
Roche and Genentech
Roche is doing everything it can to contribute to fighting the pandemic. Their people are working day and night with the aim of developing, manufacturing and supplying key tests and medicines where they are needed most. They are partnering with healthcare providers, laboratories, authorities and organisations to support local response, and they are committed to help make sure that patients receive the tests, treatment and care they need.
Roche’s contribution focuses on our existing strengths and capabilities:
COVID-19 testing: They are committed to providing testing solutions for the world’s most challenging healthcare emergencies. In mid-March they launched a high-volume molecular test intended for the qualitative detection of the SARS-Cov-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. On April 19, they announced development and upcoming launch of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 serology test to detect antibodies in people who have been exposed to the virus.
Investigating treatment options: While there are currently no approved medicines for the treatment of COVID-19, Roche is actively involved in understanding the potential of its existing portfolio and is researching options for the future. On 19 March, they announced initiation of COVACTA – a global Phase III randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intravenous tocilizumab plus standard of care in hospitalised adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia compared to placebo plus standard of care. They have also initiated an internal early research programme focused on the development of medicines for COVID-19.
People: Roche knows its people are both highly skilled and passionate about their purpose. They are proud of the work they are doing to support their local communities, from helping out in local healthcare facilities to answering requests from call centres.
In these exceptional times, Roche stands together with governments, healthcare providers and all those working to overcome the pandemic
Roche’s response to the fight against COVID-19 in Greece
Putting the patients, the NHS and society at the center of what we do
With a full sense of responsibility towards patients and the Greek society, Roche has initiated a series of actions to contribute to the efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In these exceptional times, Roche is working closely with the different parties; the Ministry of health and the competent authorities, healthcare providers and all those working to overcome the pandemic by constantly seeking for ways to actively support them in any way possible.
“At Roche in Greece, as in the other parts around the world, we are working with urgency, passion and purpose, each and every day, to improve the situation and help each other amidst an unprecedented global pandemic. To this end, we are collaborating with the Greek healthcare authorities to support front-line healthcare providers and we are continuing to help make sure that patients receive the treatment and care they need. We bravely continue to work around the clock to help ensure that patients receive our medicines and solutions when needed. There are many unknowns. But one thing is certain: we are stronger together” said Ezat Azem, Managing Director of Roche Hellas.
Furthermore, following the inclusion of tocilizumab in the treatment protocol for COVID-19 in Greece, Roche is working with all stakeholders in order for critically ill patients, following treating physician decision, to get the medicine. Recently Roche announced, at a global level, the set-up of the COVACTA clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intravenous tocilizumab on top of standard of care in hospitalized adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. This is the first global study of tocilizumab in this setting. In addition to the Roche global clinical trial, Roche is also carefully following independently-led clinical trials, on multiple medicines including tocilizumab, that are taking place around the world. At the moment, there are no robust, well-controlled studies showing safety and efficacy of tocilizumab in clinical treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia and tocilizumab is not currently approved for this use.
Standing by Greek patients and families
Committed to Greek patients, Roche continues to stand by patients’ associations in Greece in these times of stress. Among others, the company supports the program ‘Together against COVID” which is implemented in collaboration with the Greek Patients Association, aiming to provide e-education on COVID-19 related issues, advocacy consultancy and continuous support through a dedicated call center.
Roche also collaborates with Roche “Alma Zois” patient association of women with breast cancer to support webinar education to women with breast cancer sharing information about COVID-19 and tips to manage psychological stress through the pandemic. In collaboration with “Alma Zois“ in Patras, we also support patients’ transportation to and forth the hospital for treatment purposes.
In addition, in cooperation with the Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology (EOPE), Roche supported a web-based educational program for oncologists, regarding the COVID-19 situation.
At the same time, Roche supports and further enhances standing programs for the home delivery of medicines where this is feasible and in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical need.
Moreover, in an effort to support Greek families, Roche has developed a series of short educational videos for children staying at home that are available through the website (www.hemilios.gr) and a dedicated YouTube channel. Featuring “Hemilios” as main hero, the videos provide advice and information on several health-related topics but also suggest activities to spend their free time at home while learning new things and practicing new skills!
Roche will also support an initiative by the Hellenic Liver Patient Association “Prometheus” aiming to inform prisoners, a group at high risk from COVID-19, and prison officers about measures against contamination, and also provide them with personal hygiene products.
“At Roche we always put patients, the healthcare system and society at the center of what we do – especially at times of healthcare emergencies, To this end we are working intensely to find ways to support the emerging needs of patients and vulnerable groups by partnering with local patient organisations, NGOS, and scientific societies – thus combining efforts, ideas and our passion to support our communities” stated Anna Papakosmopoulou, Communications Value Lead and Spokesperson.
Protecting the safety of all, while ensuring supply
Since the beginning of the crisis, Roche has been focused on protecting the safety of its employees, their families and the society at large, while ensuring at the same time the uninterrupted supply of its medicines and diagnostic solutions to the Greek patients.
To this end the company applied at an early stage social distancing measures, including the elimination of field-based activities and domestic and international travelling, the cancellation of organization and participation in events and working from home for all employees. Moreover, during this period, it is securing all job positions and extending employment contracts of definite period until the end of June, while continuing normally its hiring processes.
All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.
Sanofi - Members Update
In view of the rapidly changing and ever-challenging COVID-19 pandemic situation, Sanofi is leveraging its expertise and experience in a number of ways to address this public health crisis.
In collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Sanofi is taking previous work on a SARS vaccine candidate to advance a novel vaccine for COVID-19 using its recombinant DNA technology. The company is also collaborating with Translate Bio to develop a novel mRNA vaccine.
Sanofi is investigating whether its existing medicines may be effective in treating COVID-19. The first non-U.S. patient has been treated as part of a global clinical program evaluating whether Sanofi and Regeneron’s rheumatoid arthritis drug may ameliorate the life-threatening complications of COVID-19 infections. Sanofi is also working with local governments and health authorities that have officially requested the anti-malarial drug for use in COVID-19.
Apart from coordinating with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to share its vaccine R&D experience, Sanofi is in weekly contact with the European Commission and EMA to help monitor the impact of COVID-19 on medicines and vaccines supply in Europe.
Sanofi’s recently announced its intention to create a leading active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) company based in France by combining six of its European sites. While it is unrelated to COVID-19, it is relevant to the current situation. API are the essential molecules responsible for the beneficial effects used in the composition of any drug. Sanofi’s aim is to secure significant API manufacturing and supply capacities that are critical for patients in Europe, and beyond. Strong political support for this type of initiative is needed.
Sanofi and GSK have also signed a letter of intent to develop an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19, using innovative technology from both companies: Sanofi will contribute its S-protein COVID-19 antigen, which is based on recombinant DNA technology; and GSK will contribute its proven pandemic adjuvant technology.
Servier - Members Update
Since the beginning of the crisis, Servier is committed to helping those who fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Beyond supporting the research efforts to prevent and treat the coronavirus disease, our company has, to date, contributed to solidary initiatives in more than 35 countries. Servier is assisting health authorities and hospitals by providing hand sanitizer gel and urgently needed personal protection equipment (more than 300 000 masks, gloves and other protective gear donated directly by Servier or through industry association initiatives). Servier is also joining forces with foundations, NGOs and associations (such as the Chinese Red Cross and Americares in India) by making donations to help caregivers and populations affected by the virus. In France, many healthcare professionals employed by Servier have volunteered to join medical staff on the front line against the virus. Servier also brings its expertise and financial support to the multi-stakeholders partnership “Health Innovation Coalition – Health Crisis″ that aims to develop innovative solutions to relieve congestion in the healthcare system and ensure patients with chronic diseases continue to be treated.
As a global leader in healthcare, Servier puts its best efforts to ensure the continuity of its operations and provide full access to its medicines for patients who rely on them. 98% of Servier’s innovative medicines’ active ingredients are produced in Europe.
Sobi - Members Update
Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (publ) (Sobi™) (STO:SOBI) plays its part in the COVID-19 global pandemic and thus has begun in March a short-term phase 2/3 clinical study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of anakinra and emapalumab in the treatment of hyper-inflammatory syndrome, one of the most serious complications associated with severe COVID-19 disease. This is in response to a request from the National Institute for Infectious Diseases, the organisation which is acting as the coordinating site for the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Italy. In this way, Sobi actively supports this important request and is focusing its attention on this exploratory study.
Sobi supports the significant donation of personal protective items, which has been made by ΣΦΕΕ / SFEE – Σύνδεσμος Φαρμακευτικών Επιχειρήσεων Ελλάδος and its member companies for the protection of healthcare professionals working in public hospitals in their fight against COVID-19, aimed to help the collective effort of supporting the National Health System.
Takeda - Members Update
Takeda is committed to taking steps in the fight against the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus by initiating development of a plasma-derived therapy, designated TAK-888, with the potential to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients and to prevent infection in frontline healthcare workers. TAK-888, a polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-IG) is an investigational treatment prepared from the plasma of individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19, and whose blood contains antibodies that can fight the virus. Once donated, the “convalescent” plasma would then be transported to manufacturing facilities where it undergoes effective virus inactivation and removal processes, and then purified into the H-IG. Takeda is collaborating closely with regulatory agencies, governments and healthcare partners to advance this program. If successful, it is anticipated that this potential therapy could be available within nine to 18 months.
UCB - Members Update
These are challenging times. The surge of cases of COVID-19 is having a profound impact on people around the world, putting pressure on our health systems and disrupting all our daily lives.
It is heartening to seeing the wave of solidarity coming from companies, organizations and individuals. At UCB we are also looking to do our part.
Our action is based on three pillars:
· Contributing to basic research and treatment development
· Offering our expertise to increase local testing capabilities
· Supporting locally and globally through donations as well as direct assistance to patients and partners.
EFPIA latest statements and blogs
- European pharmaceutical industry response to COVID-19 (EFPIA members Statements – Update 25.05.2020)
- EFPIA statement on the Corporate Europe Observatory Report on the Innovative Medicines Initiative (EFPIA Statement – 25.05.2020)
- YEAH project, the training opportunity to involve young people in health research (Guest blog – 20.05.2020)
- Clinical Trials: Servier adapts to ensure continuity (Guest blog – 20.05.2020)
- Going the extra mile to keep clinical trials on track during the COVID-19 pandemic (Guest blog – 20.05.2020)
- Shoulder to shoulder with patients with bladder cancer during times of pandemic (Guest blog – 25.05.2020)
- May is when we come together to help the world get more #BladderCancerAware (Guest blog – 25.05.2020)
- Bladder Cancer Awareness Month: reaffirming our commitment to people living with bladder cancer (Guest blog – 25.05.2020)