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As a leading healthcare company, Viatris is committed to doing its part in support of public health needs amid the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s priorities are protecting the health and safety of our workforce, producing critically needed medicines, deploying our resources and expertise in the fight against COVID-19 through potential prevention and treatment efforts, and supporting the communities in which we operate.
Every day, in countries around the world, thousands of dedicated Viatris employees work to confront a pandemic that has claimed lives and devastated economies on a global scale. Many of our 45,000 employees are working in manufacturing facilities, while others have traded their desks for kitchen tables and are juggling disrupted family schedules as well as work, like so many, during this time.
Viatris is committed to protecting the health and safety of our employees by following government directives and the advice of relevant international, national and local health authorities at every Viatris facility around the world. We have implemented social distancing measures, daily health assessments and split shifts where feasible, and regularly offer advice and support to employees working from home.
We may be standing 6 feet apart, but we are united in our commitment to fighting COVID-19 and a host of other diseases and illnesses that threaten public health.
A Focus on India
Our focus on employees took on added significance as a second COVID-19 wave hit India in 2021, causing widespread disease and death as supply-ravaged hospitals struggled to treat the sick. With a large workforce in India, we marshalled available resources to help those team members and their families who contracted the virus and deployed available resources with urgency, care and compassion.
We ramped up production of the antiviral medicines remdesivir and favipiravir and are continuing to partner closely with the Indian government to help support patient needs as demand for these medicines increases. We are also continuing to take appropriate measures to maintain supply continuity for other critical medicines, both within India and around the world.
We are working through our established partner network, including Direct Relief and Americares, to provide funding for needed equipment and supplies. Through a collaboration with the Red Cross, we have established a way for Viatris employees to donate to international COVID-19 relief efforts, with the company matching money raised. We are also directly engaged with on-the-ground efforts through our long-standing corporate social responsibility program in India.
Viatris is mobilizing its resources and expertise in the battle against COVID-19 – our disease-fighting products, our manufacturing capabilities and our global reach. We were on the frontlines of the search for an effective treatment through product donations in the World Health Organization's SOLIDARITY trial, an unprecedented global effort to investigate potential remedies.
We were also part of a global collaboration with Gilead Sciences to expand access to the investigational antiviral remdesivir for the potential treatment of COVID-19. By leveraging our global research and manufacturing platform, including strong technical expertise in injectable dosage forms, we were in a position to provide product in months, demonstrating an unprecedented development timeline.
We also worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other public health institution partners who have been studying potential prophylactic measures.
We are committed to making available our global R&D, regulatory and manufacturing expertise and capacity to partners who may be in need of additional resources.
Maintaining a reliable supply of pharmaceutical products is always critical, but even more so – and often more challenging -- in the midst of a pandemic. As an essential business, and with the support of thousands of dedicated employees, Viatris has taken action to avoid supply chain disruptions for critical medicines ranging from maintenance treatments for chronic conditions to ICU drugs or anti-infectives in short supply due to increased demand. We continue to maintain operations at facilities around the world and communicate with customers – all with the goal of meeting patient needs.
In the same way that our manufacturing teams have continued delivering on our mission, our commercial team continues to interact with healthcare providers using various virtual tools, and we are committed to customer service as we seek new ways to serve patients through this time.
Viatris is especially mindful of ensuring access to medicine for underserved patient populations and some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. We are committed to supporting local giving strategies, empowering in-market business leaders to ensure the broadest impact is made toward the most pressing needs through in-kind donations of or through financial support of local causes, such as food pantries or other relief efforts.
Through a new collaboration, Viatris and Sesame Workshop have created new resources to support the social and emotional needs of families across generations and around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. This suite of resources was designed to help young children talk through and name big feelings like stress or fear, encourage positive caregiving strategies and routines, and help families find ways to celebrate together when far apart.
As the world's largest supplier of antiretroviral drugs, Viatris is committed to playing a leading role in the global fight against AIDS. Antiretrovirals have helped turn the tide against AIDS by suppressing the HIV virus, which attacks the body's immune system and can lead to AIDS if left untreated.
A person with a weakened immune system also has increased risk of complications from COVID-19; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified people with poorly controlled HIV as among those "at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19." That is why the World Health Organization's COVID-19 guidance includes advice that anyone taking antiretroviral drugs to suppress HIV should maintain at least a 30-day supply of the medicine. Moreover, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are recommending that the programs they support use multi-month dispensing (MMD) to provide patients with 3- or 6-months of medications, to ensure treatment continuity even during measures limiting travel to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Viatris is acutely aware that more than 10 million people living with HIV around the world depend on our antiretrovirals every day. We are committed to working to ensure access to antiretrovirals wherever they are needed.
Although tuberculosis (TB) is relatively uncommon in the United States, it remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and is the leading cause of death from an infectious disease, accounting for 1.5 million fatalities in 2018. Like COVID-19, TB attacks the lungs, putting TB patients at a higher risk from COVID-19 complications. The World Health Organization has urged healthcare professional to "urgently maintain continuity of essential services for people affected with TB during the COVID-19 pandemic."
Viatris is doing its part by working to ensure that these patients are not left behind through efforts to provide an uninterrupted and affordable supply of TB drugs to the highest burden TB countries around the world.