New York (ots-PRNewswire) - Highlights of Company's four-point
- AIDS drugs below cost
- Transparent Pricing for AIDS Drugs in Africa
- $115 Million in `Secure the Future' Philanthropy
- Emergency Patent Relief
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) today announced new initiatives
to help fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa:
- DRUGS BELOW COST: The Company will now make its two AIDS
medicines, VIDEX(R) (didanosine) and ZERIT(R) (stavudine), available
in African countries at even lower prices - below cost - under its
existing ACCESS partnership program with international agencies,
including UNAIDS, World Health Organisation, World Bank, UNICEF and
U.N. Population Fund.
- TRANSPARENT PRICING: The prices of products offered under the
ACCESS program will be fully public. Under this program, the
company's medicines to treat HIV/AIDS - the nucleoside reverse
transcriptase inhibitors VIDEX and ZERIT - will be available in every
country in Africa that wishes to participate at a price of one dollar
per day - 15 cents per day for ZERIT and 85 cents per day for VIDEX.
These prices are below cost.
- "SECURE THE FUTURE": The Company has expanded its philanthropic
"Secure the Future" program by pledging an additional $15 million,
raising the total level of commitment to $115 million. This will
allow it to continue developing innovative ways to prevent and treat
HIV/AIDS among women and children and to help communities deal with
the crisis. This initiative works with African governments and
communities to bring local solutions to the epidemic.
- EMERGENCY PATENT RELIEF: The Company will ensure that its
patents do not prevent inexpensive HIV/AIDS therapy in Africa. The
patent for ZERIT, rights to which are owned by Yale University and
Bristol-Myers Squibb, will be made available at no cost to treat AIDS
in South Africa under an agreement the Company has recently concluded
with Yale. The Company has no other patent rights in Africa which it
will allow to prevent AIDS therapy there.
"This is not about profits and patents; it's about poverty and a
devastating disease," said John L. McGoldrick, executive vice
president, Bristol-Myers Squibb. "We seek no profits on AIDS drugs in
Africa, and we will not let our patents be an obstacle."
Bristol-Myers Squibb has been active for several years in finding
innovative and workable approaches to dealing with the HIV/AIDS
crisis in Africa, culminating with the announcement today of this
four-point program. In 1999, the company launched its $100 million,
"Secure the Future" initiative to fund research, training and
community outreach in southern Africa. In May 2000, as part of the
Access initiative, the company lowered its prices of AIDS medicines
in poor countries by 90 percent of what they cost in the developed
"The facts are clear: the African continent is at risk, health
infrastructure needs are huge, and urgent action is needed now," said
Mr. McGoldrick. "Of 36 million HIV-positive people worldwide, 25
million are in Africa. An estimated 12-15 million Africans may be
medically eligible for drug treatment, more than ten times the number
receiving treatment today worldwide. We intend to do our part, but
all agree that drugs alone will not solve the problem. Massive
expenditures to address healthcare infrastructure needs are critical.
African governments and donor governments in Europe, Japan and the
U.S. must join with U.N. organisations, pharmaceutical companies,
non-governmental organisations and others to address this human
tragedy in Africa."
"We at Bristol-Myers Squibb certainly do not have all the answers.
But we hope our initiatives can be of some help to African AIDS
sufferers and may help energise and accelerate world understanding
and action. Outside Africa, we will maintain our existing ACCESS
pricing program and address the subject on a country-by-country
basis," he said.
ots Original Text Service: Bristol-Myers Squibb
Contact: Bob Laverty, +1-212-546-3993, or Patti Duquette,
both of Public Affairs of Bristol-Myers Squibb
Company News On-Call: Bristol-Myers Squibb press releases available
by fax, +1-800-758-5804, ext. BMYFAX, or 269329, or at
Web site: http://www.bms.com
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