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A roundup of developments in corporate social responsibility and sustainability from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other private and public organizations.
The Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals(ACCP) and the London Benchmarking Group (LBG) have begun an 18-month pilot program to improve companies’ ability to measure the impact of corporate community investment.Through this initiative, 12 ACCP member companies will learn the LBG framework and its impact-measurement tools. Participants will also share their own experiences and best practices to help further develop tools and resources to assist in measuring the impact of community investment. The pilot, focused on the LBG measurement model, launched on Nov. 30, 2011. Over the course of the 18-month program, a series of workshops will take place applying the model, which was adopted by The Dow Jones Sustainability Index as its assessment criteria for measuring corporate community investment. As part of the program, a summary report will be jointly developed by ACCP and LBG upon completion of the pilot and shared with ACCP and LBG members.
AstraZeneca has donated $3.8 million worth of prescription medicines to AmeriCares for chronically ill Americans who rely on safety-net clinics for their medical care. The donation is one of the largest AmeriCares received in the past year for its domestic-aid deliveries. AmeriCares delivers medicines to free clinics and community health centers through its US Medical Assistance Program, which provides free medicines and medical supplies to 400 healthcare facilities serving the poor and uninsured across the United States. The AstraZeneca products are expected to benefit patients of about 100 clinics in 28 states.
Bristol-Myers Squibb donated $6.9 million in 2011 to support the HealthWell Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to eligible individuals to cover coinsurance, copayments, healthcare premiums, and deductibles for certain treatments. The donation was made to HealthWell’s co-pay assistance funds to help underinsured cancer patients with their out-of-pocket disease-related expenses that are not covered by their insurance plans, regardless of treatment selected.
Merck & Co. has announced several new initiatives to help state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) continue to provide access to medicines to people living with HIV.;These efforts include lowering the price of Isentress (raltegravir) to eligible ADAPs, effective Jan. 1, 2012. The new price will be frozen and will be available as part of the existing Merck special pricing program through Dec. 31, 2013. In addition, Merck and the ADAP Crisis Task Force have agreed to other initiatives. Merck is increasing it operations funding and medication donations for the Welvista ADAP Program.The program helps address the medication needs of ADAP clients who are currently on state ADAP waiting lists by expediting access to HIV medicines through a simplified application process. The company also is working to optimize the use of comprehensive health insurance options available to persons with HIV. Between 2009 and 2010, the use of private insurance by ADAPs tripled to more than 110,000 persons. The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) reported about 40 ADAPs used ADAP funds to purchase health insurance or pay insurance premiums, co-payments, and/or deductibles for individuals eligible for ADAP (provided the insurance has comparable formulary benefits to that of the ADAP). Merck and NASTAD will seek solutions that overcome barriers to more widespread use of such approaches, such as expanding enrollments in Medicare Part D, private insurance and pre-existing condition insurance plans.
Roche has awarded a grant to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York City, which will be used for the establishment of a program to improve basic cancer care in Ethiopia. The grant funding comes from the Roche African Research Foundation. The goal of the project is to increase the capacity for delivering cancer care in Ethiopia by improving patient navigation through the care system, assuring standard protocols and reporting, enhancing public awareness of cancer, and developing a pilot site for regional cancer care centers at the Hawassa College of Medicine and Health Sciences. The initiative will also focus on providing a basic cancer-care training program for healthcare professionals and surgical training for gynecologists as well as support the annual Ethiopian Oncology National Conference, which is a conference by which oncologists within Ethiopia can exchange experiences and knowledge regarding cancer treatment. The program will emphasize women’s reproductive cancers because they represent the greatest burden of cancer disease in Ethiopia and the patients are young. While the average life expectancy for women in Ethiopia is more than 58 years, approximately 44% of patients with breast cancer are under the age of 40.
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, reports that Brazil has chosen to introduce injectable polio vaccine in its national immunization program with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) from Sanofi Pasteur. The IPV doses will be provided by Bio-Manguinhos, the Institute of Technology in Immunobiologicals of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation through an agreement with Sanofi Pasteur. IPV will be included in the Brazilian national immunization program starting in 2012.