Note: This is an edited form of a press release from Biogen. To read the original release in its entirety, click here.
The first shipments of much-needed hemophilia therapy have started to arrive at treatment centers across the developing world Biogen, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (Sobi) and the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) announced on Monday, October 12, 2015. These shipments are part of the largest humanitarian aid pledge of its kind to help people with hemophilia in developing countries.
The donation will provide up to 500 million units of hemophilia therapy over five years to the WFH and represents a significant contribution to the expansion of their Humanitarian Aid Program, a 20-year old initiative dedicated to providing treatment and care for people with hemophilia in the developing world. This initiative is the first phase of Biogen and Sobi’s ten-year commitment to produce 1 billion International Units (IUs) of hemophilia therapy for humanitarian use.
Hemophilia is a rare, chronic, inherited disorder in which the ability of a person’s blood to clot is impaired. The WFH donation program is designed to create a sustainable model for humanitarian aid that has the potential to improve hemophilia care in regions of the world where, due to limited access to diagnosis and treatment, people with severe hemophilia often do not survive to adulthood. This donation is intended to help enable a predictable and sustainable supply of therapy to countries in need, and is the first time treatment clinics will receive product manufactured specifically for humanitarian use. The first recipient countries of the donation include Senegal, Kenya, Philippines, Dominican Republic, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, El Salvador, Indonesia, Ghana, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka and Nigeria.
“The majority of people with hemophilia in developing countries do not live past adulthood and if they do, they face a life of severe disability and chronic pain,” said Assad E. Haffar, M.D., WFH Humanitarian Aid Program Director. “The lack of access to clotting factor concentrates in these countries presents an urgent and important public health challenge.”
“By expanding the WFH Humanitarian Aid Program through larger and more predictable donations, we may now be in a position to create a foundation for more sustainable and improved care in parts of the world where there is an urgent need,” said WFH President Alain Weill.
According to the WFH, an estimated 400,000 people worldwide have hemophilia and of these, more than 300,000 individuals live in areas where there is limited access to diagnosis and treatment. This commitment from Biogen and Sobi and the steady flow of medicine to WFH may help enable access to treatment for emergency situations, acute bleeds, elective surgeries and also prophylaxis for children.
“The WFH has made great strides in advancing the care for people with hemophilia in developing countries over the last two decades, and we are proud to help them accelerate their efforts,” remarked John Cox, executive vice president, Pharmaceutical Operations and Technology at Biogen. “This is a significant milestone in our joint effort with the WFH and our hope is that others will join us to help create a sustainable model for humanitarian support.”
“We regard healthcare innovation as a global commitment. By helping to address the global treatment gap and supporting the WFH’s mission of treatment for all, we hope to enable meaningful change for people with hemophilia across the world,” said Geoffrey McDonough, president and chief executive officer of Sobi.