Pharma COVID-19 Relief Roundup: News from Teva, Bayer, and Merck & Co.
The latest contributions from Teva, Bayer, and Merck & Co., in funding and donations supporting relief efforts against COVID-19.
Teva Donates Potential COVID-19 Drugs Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has outlined its support for securing and scaling production of both active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished doses for potential COVID-19 treatments as well as other relief efforts.
The company reported on April 21, 2020 that it had donated nearly 18 million units of hydroxychloroquine, a drug approved for treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and 500,000 units of azithromycin, an antibiotic, which are being evaluated as a potential COVID-19 treatment to more than 26 countries.
In the US, Teva has donated more than 10 million hydroxychloroquine doses to hospitals. In Israel, it has donated 2 million hydroxychloroquine units to the country’s Ministry of Health, has supported government-led programs to assist older people who may be isolated, and has supported the Israeli National Aid Society.
In Asia, Teva has donated 9,600 packs of azithromycin to 15 hospitals in Hubei, China and provided medical supplies (personal protective equipment, kits, masks, thermometers, sanitization materials) and food to populations in India.
In Europe, Teva has donated 13,000 units of hydroxychloroquine, 15,000 masks and 7,000 gowns in Spain, and has offered employees the opportunity to volunteer with the National Health Service, the UK’s public health service, without having to use unpaid leave.
Additionally, Teva says it has paid for vacation days for employees internationally not able to work on site or at home.
Source: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
Bayer Donates 8 M Chloroquine Tablets to German Gov’t
Bayer is donating 8 million chloroquine tablets, a drug approved for treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, to the German federal government as a potential treatment for COVID-19. The supply has been provided by Chinese manufacturers and was scheduled to be transferred within the next few days as reported on April 14, 2020.
The company has already donated several million chloroquine tablets to governments in different countries, such as China, Italy and the US.
Bayer reports that the medication is currently being tested for efficacy against COVID-19 infections in several studies carried out by the World Health Organization, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), and the University of Oxford.
Bayer To Donate $1 M to Support COVID Relief in France
Bayer says it will donate EUR 1 million ($1.1 million) to the “All United Against the Virus” alliance set up by La Fondation de France, a philanthropy network in France, the Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) hospital network, a public health establishment affiliated with seven universities, and the Pasteur Institute, a Paris-based research center.
Bayer says the money will enable the alliance to provide psychological support for caregivers, patients, and their families as well as to improve the patient care pathway. It will also be used to fund research projects to understand the coronavirus and the pandemic and to develop antibody detection tests, treatments, and vaccines.
In addition to the support provided to the “All United Against the Virus” alliance, Bayer is promoting various initiatives to address the coronavirus pandemic in France. The company says it is supporting a study conducted by medical experts to assess the effectiveness of a combination of molecules for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. In addition, it is making its expertise available to validate a new and faster method of test screening. The company also has donated protective equipment (including more than 12,000 face masks), dermatological products and also meals in the Lyon region.
Merck & Co. Provides COVID-19 Relief Through Patient-Assistance Programs
Merck & Co. has outlined measures to assist patients in the US who may have lost their jobs and insurance coverage due to COVID-19 for certain products.
The company says it will continue to provide access to Merck medicines at no cost for eligible patients through its Merck Patient Assistance Program. The Merck Patient Assistance Program is making changes to help patients who have lost their job or cannot get into their doctor’s office, including assessing patients’ real-time financial situations, providing assistance with expiring enrollments, and offering options to collect signatures on enrollment forms.
Merck says it will also be making changes to other US access and assistance programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a temporary $0 co-pay for certain products for eligible privately insured patients who are enrolled in the Merck Access Program. In addition, it has relaxed certain refill restrictions related to coupon use and says all existing coupon programs remain available to privately insured eligible patients.
Source: Merck & Co.