WATCH: How Innovative Pharma is fighting Covid-19 and supporting communities
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The Innovative Pharmaceutical Association South Africa (IPASA) is a voluntary association of leading international pharmaceutical companies dedicated to researching and developing novel medications, creating a sustainable environment for the industry to contribute to a patient-centered health system and bringing the beneﬁts of breakthrough treatments to patients across South Africa.
As science-driven research-based pharmaceuticals, IPASA members have played a leading role in the development of effective treatments and vaccines against Covid-19. We have joined efforts with the government, the medical and business community to curtail and contain the spread of this serious health threat to our communities as well as minimise its disruptive impact on vulnerable communities in South Africa.
We reflect on Madiba’s quote when the world was faced with the HIV pandemic and it is in the same vein that we continue to strive to make a difference in our own sphere of influence.
"When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing?" Nelson Mandela
Over and above the vaccines, IPASA members have also supported efforts aimed at strengthening the healthcare system, supporting frontline healthcare workers and high-risk patient groups as well as providing relief to vulnerable communities. Some members share some of the projects they have been involved with to support various communities during the pandemic as well as partnerships to manufacture and distribute Covid-19 vaccines on the African continent.
Pfizer and Biontech partner with Biovac to manufacture and distribute COVID-19 vaccines in Africa
Pfizer and its vaccine development partner BioNTech are partnering with Cape Town-based, South African biopharmaceutical company Biovac to manufacture vaccines that will be distributed within the African Union. The partnership will deliver more than 100 million doses annually to African nations.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Pfizer has been committed to playing its part in discovering breakthrough therapies and vaccines to fight this pandemic, prioritising engagement with national governments and international initiatives to ensure a coordinated national and international approach.
To further support the fight against Covid-19 in South Africa, Pfizer contributed R7,2 million (US $500,000) to the Solidarity Fund, a platform for both the public and private sectors to contribute towards the fight against Covid-19. In addition, the company provided over R1 million to NGOs providing food and other essential items to vulnerable communities and donated more than R500,000 towards Covid-19 HCP education and the development of education and navigation materials for high-risk patient groups who are at greater risk of death should they contract the virus.
IFPMA Partners with H3D on Drug innovation in Africa
If there has been one major positive outcome for the innovative global pharma industry it has been the collaborative efforts to speed up the development of vaccines to help respond to this pandemic, to share tools and insights to test potential therapies and vaccines, and to increase the industry’s manufacturing capabilities.
International Federation of Pharmaceutical and Manufacturing Association (IFPMA) represents the research-based pharmaceutical companies and associations across the globe of which IPASA is a member continues to be an advocate for promoting local development of medicines and vaccines.
In a first for the continent, IFPMA has partnered with H3D Foundation, a fully integrated drug discovery platform based at the University of Cape Town, to support sustainable capacity building and training in drug innovation and science in Africa, to help the continent retain local scientists, and to uplift H3D as a global player in innovative pharmaceutical research and development.
H3D’s mission is to discover and develop innovative, life-saving medicines for communicable diseases that predominantly affect African patients; build Africa-specific models to contribute to improving treatment outcomes in African patients and to educate African scientists in drug discovery-related sciences.
Johnson & Johnson pledges Covid-19 Vaccine to populations
Johnson & Johnson’s relentless focus on equitable access to healthcare is reflected in its consistent high ranking on the Access to Medicine Index (ATMI), a biennial report card that grades the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies on their efforts to distribute medications, vaccines and diagnostics to low- and middle-income countries.
Effective and safe vaccines have the potential to help end the Covid-19 but developing such tools is only the first step—allocating and distributing the shots equitably to populations around the world is just as critical.
As part of this commitment, Johnson & Johnson will allocate up to 500 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to lower income countries. Last year, Johnson & Johnson joined 15 other life sciences companies in signing a landmark Communiqué on Expanded Global Access to pledge that vulnerable people in all countries will have access to potential drugs, vaccines and other innovations for Covid-19. As part of this commitment, Johnson & Johnson will allocate up to 500 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to lower income countries.
Aspen confirms release of Covid-19 vaccines to Johnson & Johnson for supply to South Africa
Aspen Pharmacare has released the first supplies of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines to South Africa, from its flagship site in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.
These vaccines will be further distributed throughout South Africa in line with the various distribution arrangements between Johnson & Johnson, the National Department of Health and other stakeholders. In addition, vaccines from these batches will be made available through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team/African Union platform.
This represents a significant landmark for South Africa and the African continent as these are the first Covid-19 vaccines to be produced on the African continent, by an African producer for South African and African patients.
Emergency Education in a Digital Age
Abbott supports Covid-19 education of 2000 emergency care professionals in 26 African countries
Abbott and the Abbott Fund partnered with the African Federation for Emergency Medicine (AFEM) to reach 2,000 emergency care professionals who are on the front lines in 26 African countries. AFEM used technology to broadly reach, educate and share solutions on Covid-19 care with these emergency experts — who will in turn share their knowledge with other healthcare providers operating in their local countries.
"Our main challenge with Covid-19 is the lack of clear and concise information that is appropriate for our settings, where patient numbers are high but staff numbers and resources are scarce," said Professor Lee Wallis, founder of AFEM. "Our goal is to address the most critical topics for our frontline workers, so they are better armed with tools and knowledge to treat patients when working with limited resources."
Through a grant to AFEM, Abbott sponsored a series of virtual training webinars during which guest speakers shared best practices and information about critical topics, such as testing protocols, personal protective equipment, triaging and treating patients, and maximising limited resources.