World AIDS Day 2005 – Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to its fight against AIDS
Ingelheim/Germany, 28 November 2005 - On the occasion of World Aids Day 2005 on 1 December 2005, the Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors of Boehringer Ingelheim, Dr Alessandro Banchi, acknowledged the special responsibility of research-driven pharmaceutical companies such as Boehringer Ingelheim and highlighted the company’s broad-ranging initiatives.
“In view of the continuing AIDS/HIV pandemic, Boehringer Ingelheim has increased its efforts to help those affected by this devastating disease. We continue to channel our research activities into finding new and efficacious treatments for HIV and AIDS and to supply anti-HIV drugs free of charge or at substantially reduced prices to developing countries. We also share our knowledge through training initiatives and in supporting charities via our affiliates in areas most affected by the disease.”
In addition to the well-established Boehringer Ingelheim programmes, like the Viramune® Donation Program, reduced pricing schemes for chronic Viramune® therapy in developing countries, voluntary licences and new drug development, Banchi especially highlighted further philanthropic initiatives in Southern Africa and in Papua New Guinea.
Donating to prevent further spread of HIV
Since 2000 Boehringer Ingelheim has given free access to single-dose Viramune® (nevirapine), to be used alone or in combination with other drugs, to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the HI virus during birth.* The company is currently donating the product to 140 programmes in 58 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. In total more than 634, 000 mother and child doses were supplied free of charge so far.
Speeding up access through voluntary licences
To increase access to generic versions of nevirapine, Boehringer Ingelheim has in the meantime given out five voluntary licenses to manufacture and market the drug to companies in South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya.
Reducing the price for Viramune®
A further measure to enable access to HIV drug treatment has been to reduce the price for Viramune® in developing countries considerably. Boehringer Ingelheim as a founder partner of the Accelerating Access Initiative (AAI) offers developing countries considerable discount rates.
Providing new hope through new treatments
After making available the first non-nucleoside transcriptase inhibitor Viramune® in 1996, Boehringer Ingelheim has now provided patients and the medical profession with the novel non-peptidic protease inhibitor Aptivus® which gives new hope to HIV-positive patients with reduced susceptibility to currently available anti-HIV treatments. This product has been introduced so far in the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, other countries are in the launch or registration process. There are also further anti-HIV substances in clinical development at Boehringer Ingelheim. In all HIV research activities of Boehringer Ingelheim special care is given to paediatric indications. Viramune® is registered in most countries for use in children. For Aptivus® clinical trials in children are underway.
At Boehringer Ingelheim as well as at all research-driven pharmaceutical companies new research is funded by revenues from marketed products. Thus maximum price reductions or drug donations are only possible if the tiered pricing system, i.e. appropriate prices in developed countries and considerably reduced prices in developing countries, as well as the value of intellectual rights is accepted by all relevant stakeholders.
Examples of Philantropic Programmes at Boehringer Ingelheim
The company`s Viramune® Donation Programme continues to develop. By far the greatest proportion of the donated medicine was directed to sub Saharan Africa, where the infection rates with HIV are the highest.
Viramune® continues to play an important role in Africa also in chronic treatment in combination with other drugs and the company will continue to explore ways to partner with governments and NGO`s to further this work. These moves into other parts of Africa build upon the initiatives already undertaken by our company in South Africa, such as
* The “Turning the Tide” programme of training and education for health professionals in HIV and its management which has now extended through South Africa into Swaziland and Botswana financed by Boehringer Ingelheim. The extended programme has now reached over a thousand healthcare workers.
* The Student Education Programme in collaboration with the University of Cape Town providing full financial support from Boehringer Ingelheim for medical students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
* The establishment, of the Boehringer Ingelheim Lung Institute at the University of Cape Town which was set-up as a centre of excellence to support clinical trial activities in the country with research facilities in infectious diseases and respiratory disease. Boehringer Ingelheim invested some 1.5 million Euro in the Lung Institute so far.
* The Boehringer Ingelheim Training and Facilitation unit that was opened in 2005 in Botswana.
Papua New Guinea
16,000 of Papua New Guinea’s 5.3 million inhabitants are infected with HIV and the infection rate is 1,000 per year. Very few infected people go to health care centres because they are afraid of public stigmatisation so the figures are even likely to be vastly underestimated. Only the wealthy can afford the necessary treatment. Apart from the above mentioned Viramune® Donation Programme, Boehringer Ingelheim in partnership with other pharmaceutical companies, the Catholic Aids Office, the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) and the government of Papua New Guinea, have designed and implemented a pilot project to train healthcare workers under the auspices of the Collaboration for Health in Papua New Guinea (CHPNG).1
Unlike other programmes, this model used a multi-disciplinary approach to train teams of healthcare workers rather than doctors only. The teams consisted of physicians, nurses, counsellors, social workers and technicians working in health care centres. During two six-day workshops, they recognised region-specific problems and identified possible solutions compatible with their own circumstances and limitations. The topics covered included basic infection control, infection prevention, record keeping, diagnosis and management of opportunistic infections, etc. Further workshops are planned.
Boehringer Ingelheim plans to maintain its intense commitment in the fight against AIDS worldwide and is open to partnerships with all stakeholders to stop the spread of the disease and to help those who are already infected.
Notes to Editors:
Viramune® (nevirapine) is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) indicated for use in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of chronic HIV-1 infection.
Viramune® (nevirapine) reduces the likelihood of infection of the newborn child with HIV at birth with a simple treatment regimen in a high percentage of cases. The HIV-positive mother receives a single Viramune® tablet during labour and the newborn infant a few drops of the same medicine within the first 72 hours of birth. Where-ever possible combination treatment is recommended also in this indication.
Viramune is registered in most countries also for paediatric use.
Tipranavir is a non-peptidic protease inhibitor (NPPI) for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in combination with other antiretroviral agents in patients who are protease inhibitor experienced. It has recently been approved by FDA, EMEA and other regulatory authorities and has been launched in first countries. Clinical studies for paediatric use are underway.
* Monotherapy with Viramune in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the HI-virus during birth has been associated with the potential development of NNRTI resistance. According to the latest WHO guidelines for MTCT, where other ARV medicines are accessible, single-dose Viramune should be combined with additional effective antiretroviral medicines.
1 The collaboration for Health in PNG (CHPNG) is an initiative of a group of pharmaceutical manufacturers committed to the treatment and care of people living with HIV/AIDS.
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