World AIDS Day 2001 - Progress in the Battle against AIDS


On World AIDS Day 2001, Boehringer Ingelheim reports on the successful progress of its initiatives in the battle against HIV/AIDS in the developing world. Since the delivery of drug supplies to Congo (Brazzaville) and Senegal as the first countries in the Boehringer Ingelheim VIRAMUNE® Donation Programme in 2000, sixteen additional countries have been included. This increases the number of participating countries to a total of eighteen with 29 different projects.

The latest shipment of VIRAMUNE® for the prevention of Mother to Child Transmission was handed over on Tuesday this week to the Ukraine during an official hand-over ceremony in Kiev. In view of an increasing number of HIV infected people in the Ukraine, the Health Minister, Vitalii Moscolenko, welcomed the donation as a valuable contribution to Ukraine`s attempts to enable a new generation to grow up free of AIDS.

The VIRAMUNE® Donation Programme represents Boehringer Ingelheim’s offer to provide VIRAMUNE® (nevirapine) free of charge for a period of five years to developing countries for use in the prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV-1 (MTCT). Countries participating in the VIRAMUNE® Donation Programme include: Burundi, Benin, Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Ghana, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ukraine, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Boehringer Ingelheim is also a founding partner of the Accelerating Access Initiative (AAI), a private-public partnership now involving six pharmaceutical companies (Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, F. Hoffman-La Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co., Inc.) and five UN organisations WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNAIDS and World Bank. As part of this initiative, Boehringer Ingelheim has committed to offer VIRAMUNE® for use in the chronic treatment of HIV infection at significantly reduced prices for developing countries.

To-date 13 developing countries have formally announced their participation in the Accelerating Access Initiative. At the end of September 2001, Trinidad and Tobago became the first country in the Caribbean to finalise an agreement of this kind under the auspices of the AAI.

One of the true success stories associated with the Accelerating Access Initiative is the Republic of Senegal. The price reductions for ARV drugs offered by the pharmaceutical companies involved in the Accelerating Access Initiative decreased the costs of monthly combination therapy in Senegal by more than 80%. Due to the increased affordability of these drugs, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of patients who are receiving triple combination treatment. By the end of 2000, a total of 164 adults and pediatric patients were being treated with antiretroviral drugs in Senegal. By the end of 2001, it is estimated that more than 550 adults and children are receiving combination antiretroviral treatment.

As part of the next phase in the Senegalese Initiative on Antiretroviral Therapy, the Senegalese government is planning to expand and extend the programme to regions outside the capital city of Dakar. The targets set by the government of Senegal are to have 7000 patients on triple combination therapy by the year 2007 and to have tested over 120,000 pregnant women for HIV by 2006.

“Boehringer Ingelheim’s aim to work with numerous cooperation partners reflects our commitment to sustainable, long term initiatives to provide key medicines for people in need in developing countries”, says Prof. Rolf Krebs, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors at Boehringer Ingelheim.

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