• Press Office

    Posted in category News Release by Press Office on 06/01/2005

    Asian tsunami disaster: relief aid by pharmaceutical companies

The pharmaceutical industry is playing a major role in providing relief to those affected by the Asian tsunami disaster, both in terms of medicines and cash donations. With so many survivors in many different countries now without homes and forced to live in temporary accommodation, the risk of disease presents a danger almost as dire as the earthquake itself.


​Various companies have already donated more than £20million in cash and millions of doses of lifesaving emergency medicines to meet immediate life-saving needs. Pharmaceutical companies are also committed to helping address longer term health concerns. Examples include:

GlaxoSmithKline is donating one million doses of antibiotics and expects to donate a further one million this week. 600,000 doses of typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines are ready for donation as required. The company has also donated £2million in cash aid to relief agencies and aims to provide long-term assistance in the rebuilding of healthcare in the affected communities.

Pfizer is donating approximately £13.3million worth of medicines, principally anti-infectives, and logistical support to local and international relief agencies. In addition, it has donated £5.3million in cash aid to these organisations including the Red Cross/ Red Crescent, UNICEF, Save the Children, International Rescue Committee. The company is also co-ordinating personal donations from employees across the world.

Lilly is donating £1million in cash through the Lilly Foundation and plans further cash aid up to £2.5million and is keeping the situation under active review. The company is reviewing product donation potential, likely to include antibiotics and insulin, and is also planning a global matched giving programme.

Roche is donating 220,000 packs of anti-bacterial and antibiotic medicines. The medicines are being made available to international aid agencies. This donation comes on top of immediate medical and financial support given by local Roche affiliates in the affected countries.

Wyeth has announced a £500,000 cash donation to a range of international relief agencies, including the Red Cross, AmeriCares, Heart to Heart and Project HOPE. It is working with these relief agencies to ensure that additional medicines and infant nutrition products donated by the company are distributed effectively and appropriately. To date, the most requested items are antibiotics, vaccines, anti-inflammatory agents, nutritional formulas and analgesics. Wyeth is also supporting employees who wish to make a personal contribution to the relief fund. All employee contributions are in addition to the cash being donated by the corporation itself.

Johnson & Johnson is donating £1million in cash and is sending nine disaster relief modules to aid the treating of victims. In addition the company is working with the Red Cross and is matching employees donations to that organisation. Local branches of the company are helping to co-ordinate relief efforts, eg. in Indonesia and Thailand donations of sutures, antibiotics, antidiarrhoeals and food, water and blankets have been made.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is shipping enough antifungals and antibiotics to treat 75,000 people. In addition, the company's charitable foundation has donated £500,000 in cash to the Red Cross and is matching all employee donations.

Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) is making a contribution of £1.6million to the American Red Cross, the US Fund for UNICEF and several local agencies in support of their work in the massive relief effort. The company is standing by to provide medicines when required. Past experience has shown that the first focus of the international health and disease agencies is containing acute, possibly life-threatening health conditions. Because most of Mercks product line is intended for long-term treatment of chronic illnesses it may take the agencies some time to determine what MSD medicines are needed and where. The company is also intending to co-ordinate and match employee donations.

To date, AstraZeneca is donating more than £318,000 in cash, primarily directed to the Red Cross in Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia. To ensure best use of donated funds it is proposed that the bulk of donations made by AstraZeneca be made through the local company in the affected countries. It is not expected there will be a significant demand in the short term for AstraZeneca products, as the AstraZeneca range of products is not well aligned to the immediate medical need. Where requests for product are made, such as local anaesthetics, these will be addressed on a case by case basis.

Six tons of Sanofi-aventis medicines, consisting of 70,000 packs of antibiotics, anti-diarrhea medicines and antibacterial treatments have been shipped to the region. Each Sanofi-aventis site in France is adopting one of the villages destroyed and is planning a long-term twinning relationship with them. The company has also decided to donate £500,000 to institutions and associations that are active in the area. A first installment of £210,000 was given to the Red Cross on December 30, 2004. A second installment of £70,300 is to be given to the Association du Père Ceyrac, which is working in the Tamil Nadu region in southern India.

Novartis is offering help in the form of product and cash donations to support the work of government authorities and relief organisations in the affected countries. Including immediate relief support an amount of £1million. Novartis officials remain in contact with authorities and relief organisations in the region to assess local needs and provide further assistance on a targeted basis.

Abbott is committing £2.1million in funding and healthcare product donations to the victims of the natural disasters in Southeast Asia and the eastern coast of Africa. Working through international humanitarian agencies, AmeriCares and Project HOPE, global healthcare company Abbott is sending needed prescription drugs and nutritional aid. The Abbott product donation is expected to help approximately 60,000 people and is valued at £1 million. Additionally, Abbott is donating £1 million in funding through relief agencies working on the ground in the affected regions. And, employees in Abbott's Egyptian affiliate have pledged one hour of their salary to assist in relief efforts.

Boehringer Ingelheim is pledging £700,000 to the tsunami appeal.

Bayer is donating over £7million in medical supplies and cash donations. Medicines provided include antibiotics, pain relievers, cardiovascular, anti-diarrheal infections, anti-malarial and other hemorrhagic fever treatments. The company expects to provide more emergency assistance over the short-term and is already planning long-term projects to aid in the reconstruction.

Note to editors

This is a limited status report from selected companies based on latest information. The picture will obviously develop as the needs of the region are better defined. The ABPI is closely coordinating with both International Health Partners (IHP), which is a charitable intermediary receiving donated medical supplies, and UK Government to ensure the best and most timely response to need.

For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410

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