Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH

Boehringer Ingelheim Joins Largest-Ever Global Program with United Nations Agencies to Accelerate Access to HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment in Developing Countries

Ingelheim, Germany (ots-PRNewswire) - Boehringer Ingelheim announced today that, as one of five leading pharmaceutical companies, it is joining a new initiative with United Nations organisations to explore ways to accelerate and improve the provision of HIV/AIDS-related care and treatment in developing countries. Constructive discussions have begun between the five companies (Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, F. Hoffman-La Roche, Glaxo Wellcome and Merck & Co., Inc.,)and the five United Nations agencies (WHO, World Bank, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNAIDS) to explore practical and specific ways of working together more closely to make HIV/AIDS care and treatment available and affordable to significantly greater numbers of people in need in developing countries. The participants have adopted a set of principles that reflect a common vision of how the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be more effectively tackled in developing countries: unequivocal and ongoing political commitment by national governments; strengthened national capacity; engagement of all sectors of national society and the global community; efficient, reliable and secure distribution systems; significant additional funding from national and international sources: and continued investment in research and development by the pharmaceutical industry. Boehringer Ingelheim as well as the other participants in the effort acknowledge that affordability of HIV/AIDS-related care and treatment is an issue in developing countries -- though only one among many obstacles to access including social/political/structural and economic issues, healthcare financing, physical barriers, and information gaps. The companies are willing to work with committed governments, international organizations and other stakeholders to find ways to broaden access while ensuring rational, affordable, safe and effective use of drugs for HIV/AIDS-related illnesses. The companies, individually, are offering to improve significantly access to and availability of a range of medicines. Boehringer Ingelheim has focused a number of years on HIV drug research to prevent new infections as well as to treat HIV infected people around the world. Apart from high investments in Research and Development and sponsoring initiatives (such as to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation), Boehringer Ingelheim is supporting training initiatives for the developing world as a partner of the IAS-SHARE Treating Program for Physicians. Boehringer Ingelheim's anti-HIV drug VIRAMUNE(R) (nevirapine) can help fill a critical need in the developing world where UNAIDS estimates approximately 1,800 HIV-infected babies are born every day. VIRAMUNE has been shown to be a well tolerated, effective and affordable option in reducing the incidence of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV. This was demonstrated in a trial conducted in Uganda, HIVNET 012*, which showed that a simple regimen of one oral dose of VIRAMUNE given to an HIV-infected woman in labor and another to her newborn within three days of birth was almost twice as effective in reducing MTCT as a similar short course of zidovudine (ZDV, AZT). "This global program represents a real turning point in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the developing world," said Prof. Dr. Rolf Krebs, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors at Boehringer Ingelheim. "This is the first time that both the public and private sector are joining forces to implement a major change in the care of HIV/AIDS in the developing world." The goal of this new cooperation is to reach agreement on how to enhance progressively the capacity of developing countries to increase the access to, and use of, sustainable, comprehensive and quality HIV/AIDS interventions across the entire spectrum of prevention, treatment, patient care and support (including prevention of perinatal transmission). This effort would contribute to the International Partnership against AIDS in Africa, as well as to efforts to curb the spread of HIV and mitigate its impact on other continents. The Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies, with headquarters in Ingelheim (Germany) is one of the 20 leading pharmaceutical corporations in the world. It reported revenues of almost DEM 10 billion in 1999. The corporation has some 140 affiliated companies and it conducts business on every continent. It focuses on human pharmaceuticals (ethical and self-medication products), and animal health. Substantial research and development, production, and distribution facilities are located around the globe. In 1999 Boehringer Ingelheim spent DEM 1.6 billion on R&D, equivalent to 16% of total sales. For more information on Boehringer Ingelheim please see also the company's Internet webpage http://www.boehringer-ingelheim.com. Additional information on VIRAMUNE: VIRAMUNE VIRAMUNE was the first member of the NNRTI class of anti-HIV/AIDS drugs to be approved. VIRAMUNE tablets and oral suspension are indicated as part of a combination therapy for the antiviral treatment of HIV-1 infected adults and children with advanced or progressive immunodeficiency. While VIRAMUNE is not indicated for the prevention of MTCT in Europe and the United States, a number countries are presently assessing VIRAMUNE for the approval for the prevention of MTCT when it is given as a single dose to an HIV-positive mother during labor and to her newborn within 72 hours of birth. For chronic care, combining three or more antiretroviral agents is the standard of care for adults and children infected with HIV. VIRAMUNE is generally well-tolerated. The most commonly reported adverse events associated with VIRAMUNE are rash, fever, nausea, headache and abnormal liver function tests. Severe and life-threatening skin reactions and hepatotoxicity, including fatal cases of each, have occurred in patients treated with VIRAMUNE. VIRAMUNE is a product of original research done at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies. VIRAMUNE is marketed world-wide by Boehringer Ingelheim and in the United States by Roxane Laboratories, also a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies. ots Original Text Service: Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH Internet: http://recherche.newsaktuell.de Contact: Judith von Gordon, Corporate Public Relations Division of Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, +49-6132-773582, or fax, +49-6132-776601, gordon@ing.boehringer-ingelheim.com, or Pam DeMala of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. USA, 203-798-4700; or Maureen Byrne, 212-886-3312, or Denise Conolly, 212-886-3117, both of GCI Healthcare, for Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH Web site: http://us.boehringer-ingelheim.com Original-Content von: Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, übermittelt durch news aktuell

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