Bristol-Myers Squibb GmbH & Co.KG aA

Bristol-Myers Squibb announces accelerated program to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa

New York (ots-PRNewswire) - Highlights of Company's four-point program: - 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 world. "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 Internet: Contact: Bob Laverty, +1-212-546-3993, or Patti Duquette, +1-609-252-3390, 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: Original-Content von: Bristol-Myers Squibb GmbH & Co.KG aA, übermittelt durch news aktuell

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