CSR and Sustainability in the News - Pharmaceutical Technology

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CSR and Sustainability in the News
A roundup of developments in corporate social responsibility and sustainability from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other public and private organizations.

PTSM: Pharmaceutical Technology Sourcing and Management
Volume 7, Issue 4

Abbott, through its philanthropic foundation the Abbott Fund, is providing $3 million to support relief efforts in response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Abbott Fund donation is being made to the Japanese Red Cross through the American Red Cross and the relief organization AmeriCares.

Amgen and the Amgen Foundation will donate $1 million to Japanese disaster-relief efforts. Amgen and the Amgen Foundation will distribute the funds to Direct Relief International and International Medical Corps to support basic needs and health services.

Bayer USA provided a $540,000-grant to the California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) to create the Center for STEM Education on CSUEB Hayward campus. The center will focus on enhancing and coordinating existing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education activities at CSUEB to give the university a greater role in regional and national STEM education issues. The new grant, to be administered over three years, will establish the Bayer Executive Directorship for the center and allow the school to begin teacher development in STEM education and to advance student academic achievement. The center will become the focal point of regional efforts to build on and expand sustainable models, such as Biotech Partners and MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement), two education and job training programs. It also will expand a pipeline of K–12 students motivated and prepared to pursue college degrees in STEM disciplines or math and science teacher education.

In another development, the Bayer USA Foundation has awarded a $750,000-grant to the educational nonprofit organization ASSET (Achieving Student Success Through Excellence in Teaching) to establish the Bayer Professional Development Academy at ASSET and support the creation of new regional professional development centers and satellite sites in Pennsylvania. The new Bayer grant supports ASSET's Investing in Innovation grant program that is designed to scale up the organization's reach and impact on K–8 teachers and students. It will allow for a growing number of teachers in southwest Pennsylvania and in high-need urban and rural areas to receive more and higher level teacher training in ASSET's K–8 standards-aligned STEM education program.

Baxter International and the Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter, announced their combined 2010 charitable giving of nearly $80 million and employee volunteering of more than 163,000 hours. Most of those hours were civic engagement, such as organizing food drives and building homes through Habitat for Humanity, and local education needs, such as mentoring students in science education and teaching through Junior Achievement. For financial aid, the support was focused on increasing access to healthcare, contributions to developing nations, and other global programs. The company donated $48.1 million in Baxter products through donor partners and the company's US patient assistance programs and $27.2 million from Baxter's businesses and facilities to address local needs in more than 37 countries.

Baxter also noted its efforts to reduce its carbon footrpint in product transport. The company participates in the US Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay program as both a carrier partner and a shipper partner. SmartWay is a partnership between EPA and industry to help reduce air pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions through cleaner and more fuel-efficient transportation options. Baxter became a SmartWay Carrier Partner in 2009 with its US renal truck fleet and was accepted into the SmartWay Partnership as a shipper in January 2011. In other supply-chain efforts, in March 2011, Baxter was recognized as a Tier III Partner in the US Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. C-TPAT is a joint US government–business initiative that builds cooperative relationships to enhance security throughout the import supply chain.

With start-up funding and hands-on support provided by several partners, including Baxter, Chicago's first charter health-science career academy, the Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (IHSCA), broke ground on Feb. 18, 2011, and is slated to open in late 2011. The school will provide up to 600 mostly Latino students with an opportunity to receive a college-preparatory math and science education that will enable them to enter healthcare careers.

BD, a medical-technology company, is donating $325,000 to assist in relief efforts for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. BD will distribute these funds among the nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organizations AmeriCares, the American Red Cross, Direct Relief International, Heart to Heart International, Project HOPE, Save the Children, the US Fund for UNICEF, World Vision, and the Give2Asia Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Fund. BD is currently working with these nonprofit organizations to assess the country's needs for healthcare products and will respond accordingly when the assessments are complete. Additionally, the company will match donations from its associates worldwide to the US Fund for UNICEF and the American Red Cross, up to a total of $50,000. This match is in addition to BD's traditional Matching Gift Program, which matches donations from US associates to eligible nonprofit organizations.

Bristol-Myers Squibb awarded a Positive Charge grant to the American College of Physicians (ACP) Foundation to support ACP Foundation’s HIV workforce-capacity-building initiative. ACP Foundation’s initiative seeks to address the US HIV medical workforce shortage and increase healthcare-capacity building and skill- transfer support programs to help benefit people living with HIV and AIDS in areas of high unmet need. The Positive Charge grant to the ACP Foundation totals $2.93 million over three years and is the second major Bristol-Myers Squibb Positive Charge grant focused on expanding access to HIV care and treatment in the US.

In addition, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has awarded four new grants to help improve awareness, prevention, and care of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in China and India. The grants total nearly $1 million and bring the foundation’s commitment to reducing hepatitis-related health disparities in Asia to $8 million over the past three years.

Cardinal Health has joined EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership, which brings together major freight shippers, trucking and distribution companies, and trade associations, to reduce emissions and improve environmental programs.

Dow Chemical is investing $100 million in projects to reduce energy usage and greenhouse-gas emissions. The $100-million in investment capital will be awarded to Dow business units and manufacturing sites that present projects with the greatest impact in several key performance areas, including reductions in energy use and greenhouse emissions and accelerated cost savings. To date, Dow business units have submitted around 60 projects, with a net present value totalling more than $500 million, nearly 8 trillion BTUs of energy savings, and a reduction of over 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Dow Chemical also is donating up to $6 million in humanitarian aid in response to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan in March. The company will donate $2 million to the City of Soma Community Rescue Fund, up to $3 million to the Soma region in Dow product, technology, and financial resources for long-term rebuilding, and is developing a plan to offer employees a matching grant opportunity of up to $1 million.

Eli Lilly has launched its new global service program, Connecting Hearts Abroad. Through the program, the company is sending 200 Lilly ambassadors to assist people and communities that lack basic resources and to gain a deeper, more intimate understanding of different cultures and see firsthand the problems and opportunities associated with improving human health in developing areas. The first of 200 Lilly Ambassadors started their two-week assignments in New Delhi, India, on April 2, 2011. The program will send ambassadors to 38 countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa and provide support in healthcare, caregiving of the eldery, children, and the disabled, teaching, and community development. Lilly is partnering with Cross-Cultural Solutions, an international not-for-profit organization that operates short-term volunteer programs in 12 countries.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) issued its corporate responsibility report last month. GSK announced a new environment strategy, which included the objective that the company’s operations become carbon neutral by 2050. This target means there will be no net greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal of products and the sourcing of raw materials. The company has interim targets to reduce its overall carbon footprint by 10% by 2015 and 25% by 2020, reduce its operational water consumption by 20% by 2015, and reduce waste to landfill from operations by 25% by 2015 and to zero by 2020. The company estimates that it will save £100 million ($161 million) per year 2020 through reduced energy, materials and distribution costs.

GSK also outlined is progress and goals for improving access to medicines in the developing world. In July 2010, GSK created a specific Developing Countries and Market Access (DCMA) business unit dedicated to increasing patient access to GSK medicines while expanding the company’s presence and helping it build a sustainable business in developing countries. The unit’s success is judged on profits and its contribution to increasing access to medicines. These efforts include a commitment to reduce prices of GSK patented medicines in least developed countries to no more than 25% of their price in the United Kingdom (or in France for products not sold in the UK). The company also repeated its pledge to price is malaria vaccine candidate, now in late-stage development, at affordable levels. GSK has committed to price the vaccine at a level that covers costs and generates a small return of around 5% which it will reinvest in the development of future vaccines for malaria or other products for diseases of the developing world. Also, ViiV Healthcare, a HIV company established by GSK and Pfizer, extended its policy on voluntary licenses in 2010. Voluntary licenses are granted by patent holders to allow generic-drug companies to manufacture and sell their products. ViiV Healthcare has now granted 11 voluntary licenses for its antiviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS.

Overall, GSK reported charitable contributions of £222 million ($358 million) in 2010, an increase of 36% over the previous year. The £222 million represents £147 million ($237 million) in product donations, £53 million ($85 million) in cash donations, £18 million ($29 million) in management costs, and £4 million ($6 million) for in-kind donations.

For relief efforts for the earthquake and tsunami in Japan GSK is donating £1.5 ($2.4 million) to the Japanese Red Cross to support the immediate efforts to supply clean water, blankets, and food supplies. The company also is donating cold medicines and oral care products worth £600,000 ($967,000).

Additionally,GSK reported in February 2011 of the incorporation of Synflorix, its pneumococcal vaccine, into the Kenyan national immunization program. Kenya is the first African country to receive pneumococcal vaccines through the financing mechanism known as the Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which is designed to bring discounted vaccines to developed countries. GSK’s Synflorix is the first vaccine to be rolled out in Africa under the AMC framework and provides protection against 10 strains of the pneumococcus bacteria that are responsible for the large majority of pneumococcal disease in Kenya and worldwide. Sierra Leone also is introducing pneumococcal vaccines through the AMC in Africa, and Yemen is doing the same in the Middle East. Certain countries in Latin America are also eligible to receive pneumococcal vaccines through the AMC. Nicaragua began vaccinating children in late 2010, and Guyana is introducing vaccines this year. In total, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization anticipates that more than 40 developing countries will receive pneumococcal vaccines through the AMC by 2015. In March 2010,GSK and Pfizer signed 10-year contracts through the AMC to provide up to 300 million doses each of their pneumococcal vaccines at an approximate reduction of 90% of the cost in developed markets.

Merck & Co. has received a 2011 EPA Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award for the company’s energy-management program, including Energy Star designations for six manufacturing sites and the two corporate office buildings at the company's headquarters campus. The company has established a greenhouse-gas reduction goal of 10% by 2015 from a 2009 baseline. Three Merck manufacturing sites (Stonewall, Virginia; Wilson, North Carolina;, and Barceloneta, Puerto Rico) received the Energy Star Challenge for Industry for reducing energy use by more than 10% during the previous three years. Three additional manufacturing sites (Cleveland, Tennesse; Elkhorn, Nebraska; and Las Piedras, Puerto Rico) earned an Energy Star award for ranking in the top 25% of pharmaceutical plant-energy performance nationwide, and Merck's headquarters in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, qualified for the Energy Star label for the third time.

Novo Nordisk reported on its Triple Bottom Line business principle, balancing economic, social, and environmental decisions, in China. A study, conducted by Novo Nordisk in collaboration with Accenture, confirms the relationship between Novo Nordisk's market-entry strategy, including physician training, patient education, local production, and the value created for Novo Nordisk and Chinese society by reducing the personal and economic burden of diabetes. Conducted in 2010, the study highlights Novo Nordisk's training of 220,000 physicians and 280,000 people with diabetes as a driver of shared value. The study also details Novo Nordisk's initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through a production facility in Tianjin, China, which achieved a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide, energy, and waste compared with the company’s current best-in-class production facility in Brazil. The production facility will make better use of localized suppliers and reduce product-distribution distances, saving 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide from 2012 to 2018, according to the company.

sanofi-aventis signed a new agreement to donate $25 million, extending its decade-long partnership with the World Health Organization for another five years, to control neglected tropical diseases, including African sleeping sickness. Including the additional $25 million donation, the company’s total contribution amounts to $75 million. This new donation includes medicines and funding for professional training, disease-awareness campaigns, logistics, and infrastructure.

Takeda Pharmaceutical has contributed JYP 300 million ($3.6 million) in cash to aid emergency relief for the earthquake in Japan. In addition to the cash donation, Takeda is planning the donation of pharmaceutical products.

The United Nations released Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights late last month. The Guiding Principles provide for the first time a global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse human-rights impacts linked to business activity, according to the UN. The UN Human Rights Council will consider formal endorsement of the text at its June 2011 session. The Guiding Principles are the product of six years of research and consultations, led by the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, Harvard professor John Ruggie, and which included input from governments, companies, business associations, civil society, affected individuals and groups, and investors. The Guiding Principles outline what steps states should take to foster business respect for human rights, provide a blueprint for companies for understanding and showing that they respect human rights and for reducing their risk of causing or contributing to human rights harm, and constitute a set of benchmarks for stakeholders to assess business respect for human rights.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report, Towards Universal Access to Diagnosis and Treatment of MDR-TB and XDR-TB by 2015, to address the progress and work needed to be done to combat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR–TB). WHO estimates there will be more than 2 million new cases of MDR-TB between 2011 and 2015. Programs financed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and that follow WHO treatment standards are expected to diagnose and treat about 250,000 people for MDR-TB by 2015. It is anticipated that the Global Fund will provide 84% of all international investments in TB in 2011. However, both domestic and international resources need to be scaled up to cope with MDR-TB and to continue progress in the fight against TB, according to the Global Fund.

WHO issued its first-ever list of priority medicines for maternal and child health. The top 30 priority list was compiled by experts in maternal and child health and medicines, who analyzed the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines and the latest WHO treatment guidelines to establish which medicines would save the most lives. The drugs on the priority medicines list for mothers and children are all included in the current version of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, which is reviewed every two years by the Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines. The committee, which met in Accra, Ghana, in late March, also is reviewing and considering 16 applications for the addition of a new medicine to the model list, seven applications for the addition of a new formulation, and nine applications for the deletion of a medicine from the list. The committee also discussed several policy items. These items include the role of clinical pharmacologists in relation to improving use of medicines, new strategies and directions for improving the rational use of medicines, a draft document on how to develop a national essential medicines list, and a proposal on missing essential medicines for the treatment of HIV in adults and children.

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