Manufacturers and Distributors

 

When a disaster strikes, the healthcare system counts on manufacturers, who are the first link in the supply chain. Disasters can affect the operations of manufacturers and their facilities’ supply of products in countless ways- whether it be the result of a disease outbreak that drains stock or a hurricane that destroys a hospital’s supplies. No matter the situation, manufacturers work to make their medicines and medical supplies available to those downstream in the supply chain so that patients ultimately are not impacted. The stories below highlight the efforts of manufacturers to anticipate and respond to a crisis.

Disasters can create many roadblocks for distributors, who serve as the second step in the supply chain. Distributors purchase drugs and medical products in bulk from manufacturers, and meticulously maintain large stocks in strategic locations across the country. Through fast-acting reallocation of these products to those in need, distributors quickly become Heroes during disasters. They work tirelessly to gain access to healthcare facilities amidst the potential chaos of a disaster to ensure that critical deliveries are not disrupted. Read about their stories here.

Gilead Donates Existing Supply of Remdesivir for Treatment of COVID-19

Gilead is harnessing decades of antiviral expertise, including more than 10 years of work on Remdesivir, an investigational medicine for COVID-19, to rapidly respond. Gilead initiated two Phase 3 clinical studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Remdesivir in adults diagnosed with COVID-19. These randomized, open-label, multicenter studies began enrolling patients in March 2020 and will enroll a total of 1,000 patients in the initial phase in countries with high prevalence of COVID-19.

 

Gilead embarked on a resource- and time-intensive journey in January to accelerate manufacturing timelines to increase supply of Remdesivir. The company has set a goal of manufacturing more than 1 million treatment courses by the end of 2020 and several million in 2021.

 

Gilead continues to work closely with regulatory authorities to expand access programs for Remdesivir and has donated its existing supply, equaling 1.5 million individual doses for the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 infection for clinical trials, compassionate use or expanded access programs, and following potential future regulatory authorizations.

 

Gilead established a $20 million philanthropic fund, the Gilead CARES  Grantee Fund, to support nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Bristol Myers Squibb Mobilizes Resources to Serve Healthcare Workers and Vulnerable Populations

Recognizing that this is a challenging time for everyone and that patients are facing additional hardships, biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) expanded its patient support programs to offer critical relief. On April 7th, BMS expanded its existing programs to help eligible unemployed patients in the US who have lost their health insurance due to unemployment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The expanded program offers access to BMS medicines for free, including some of the most widely prescribed products and those prescribed via telehealth services.

 

BMS also supports its employees who are licensed healthcare professionals as they volunteer in local hospitals by providing them with full pay and benefits. In addition, its employees across the world have volunteered their skills virtually. Through Skills2Give, an ongoing BMS volunteer program with which over 3,000 employees are registered, colleagues in the US, UK, and Australia can select from virtual opportunities with thousands of nonprofit organizations.

 

Source: PhRMA, BMS

Lilly, Merck, and Pfizer Empower Employees to Volunteer on Healthcare Frontlines

Biopharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly, Merck, and Pfizer have created programs empowering employees with medical or laboratory expertise to pause their current roles and to volunteer their skills to help local healthcare organizations. Together, these major companies employ thousands of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical laboratory technicians, and other medical professionals whose services are in especially high demand during this crisis. The companies will maintain the base pay of those who volunteer and provide them with full benefits.

 

Lilly is deploying its medical professionals to staff a free drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at its corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. Merck is collaborating with The Health Management Academy to identify facilities with the greatest need and triage qualifying volunteers to serve. Pfizer has created a Global COVID-19 Medical Service Program that enables medical colleagues to provide diagnostic, treatment, and public health support.

 

Motivated by the selfless desire to protect and help others, especially members of vulnerable populations, these employees jumped at the chance to join frontline medical efforts to combat COVID-19. Their passion motivated them to act when they saw the immense need around them. These employees serve as volunteers in the COVID-19 Drive Thru Testing Program, practice as physicians in doctor’s offices, and see patients at hospital emergency room overflow tents, amongst other activities.

TopRx Engages with Local Businesses to Support Furloughed Workers

As a distributor working with more than 7,000 independent pharmacies across the United States, TopRx helps support local communities throughout the country. In February 2020, as news about the coronavirus started to spread, TopRx developed a company-wide emergency response team to keep employees safe and continue getting prescription medicines where they were needed. As the company ramped up work to fulfill a growing number of orders, it turned to its local community as a source of additional staff. TopRx reached out to local businesses who were hit hard economically by COVID-19 to make part-time opportunities available to furloughed employees.

 

The company also supports local restaurants who have been forced to reduce operations during the national stay-at-home orders through “Free Food Fridays,” an initiative where all employees who work on Friday get a free meal from restaurants near TopRx facilities. This allows the company to show appreciation for hardworking employees, while supporting small businesses.

 

Source: HDA

DHL Delivers 11,200 Masks to Healthcare Facilities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino County

As the response to COVID-19 ramped up across California, DHL Express saw an opportunity to repurpose its previous preparedness measures in support of healthcare workers on the frontlines. The company had purchased masks during the 2019 California wildfires to protect its employees. Now, with the pandemic creating a widespread shortage of personal protective equipment, DHL decided to donate the thousands of extra masks it had on hand to healthcare workers in need. Although DHL employees could have indeed used the masks, which are currently in short supply, they recognized the urgent need for FDA-certified masks among healthcare workers. DHL’s generosity and dedication to emergency preparedness provided a much-needed donation to two large Californian hospital systems.

 

Healthcare Ready identified the local hospital systems who were a good fit for the donation, facilitated the connections, and assisted in ironing out delivery details. Through our outreach and coordination efforts, the masks were ultimately delivered to the distribution centers of the two facilities for processing and redistribution.

 

Source: Healthcare Ready

Heroes and Helpers: Genentech Provides $7 Million to Support Community Organizations During COVID-19

Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, is actively responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic and donating an initial $7 million to organizations dedicated to providing emergency public health response, food assistance, housing and care for the most vulnerable directed on a national, regional and local level. Genentech is also making significant financial donations to organizations like Direct Relief that are working locally and nationally to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, goggles and gowns and other critical support to health care systems.

 

Genentech is also working hard in the areas of treatment and testing for COVID-19. The organization announced the FDA approved the initiation of the company’s Phase III clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Actemra®.

 

Roche received FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the cobas® SARS-CoV-2 Test to detect the novel virus that causes COVID-19 disease. Hospitals and reference laboratories can run the test on Roche’s fully automated systems, which are widely available in the U.S. and around the world. The organization expects to supply millions of tests per month globally.

Heroes and Helpers: Alkermes Supports Most Vulnerable During COVID-19

As a leader in mental health, Alkermes recognizes there are many people who will be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19—particularly some of the most vulnerable members of society such as those living with serious mental illness and opioid and alcohol dependence.

 

In an effort to address this, Alkermes has made donations to five organizations with a focus on delivering food and support for low-income families and children, as well as seniors in the local communities where it operates including: the Council on Aging and the Wilmington School District, two essential communities during this time of need (Ohio); Healthy Waltham, an organization providing food to children who normally depend on meals in schools and to seniors so they can remain at home safely during this crisis (Massachusetts); ALONE, a program focused on caring for the elderly population during this vulnerable and isolating period (Ireland); and Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

 

Alkermes also launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a special edition of the Alkermes Inspiration Grants® program, designed to support COVID-19-related needs for people living with addiction, serious mental illness or cancer.

Heroes and Helpers: In the Fight Against COVID-19 Otsuka Supports Patients and Healthcare Workers

Otsuka is making a difference in local communities and providing support through a new charitable organization – The Sozosei Foundation – with a commitment of $500,000 in aggregate donations to five local charities in the central New Jersey and Washington, D.C. areas to support those impacted by COVID-19 with a focus on providing meals and housing services to at-risk community members including children and the elderly.

 

Otsuka employees have also mobilized to secure and deliver critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to local health organizations in greatest need. To date, Otsuka has donated more than 3,000 pieces of PPE equipment, including 2,360 medical grade N95 respirator masks to hardest hit institutions in New Jersey. Otsuka employees also delivered more than 75 cases of bottled water to local EMTs including Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad and the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department and 94 iPads to charitable organizations who will distribute them to institutions in greatest need

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The organization announced an extension to their patient support program to provide “no-cost” access to Otsuka’s branded portfolio for patients in the U.S. who have lost a job or health insurance coverage due to COVID-19.

Heroes and Helpers: Genentech Provides $7 Million to Support Community Organizations During COVID-19

Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, is actively responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic and donating an initial $7 million to organizations dedicated to providing emergency public health response, food assistance, housing and care for the most vulnerable directed on a national, regional and local level. Genentech is also making significant financial donations to organizations like Direct Relief that are working locally and nationally to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, goggles and gowns and other critical support to health care systems.

 

Genentech is also working hard in the areas of treatment and testing for COVID-19. The organization announced the FDA approved the initiation of the company’s Phase III clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Actemra®.

 

Roche received FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the cobas® SARS-CoV-2 Test to detect the novel virus that causes COVID-19 disease. Hospitals and reference laboratories can run the test on Roche’s fully automated systems, which are widely available in the U.S. and around the world. The organization expects to supply millions of tests per month globally.

Unconventional Delivery Methods by AmerisourceBergen Deploy Health Supplies in Tough Situations

As Hurricanes Harvey and Irma approached, AmerisourceBergen staged healthcare supplies to support at-risk areas. With the supplies in place, AmerisourceBergen utilized many unconventional methods to deliver them directly to patients and caregivers after the storm hit. In several cases, local couriers no longer had a vehicle to make their deliveries due to the flooding. AmerisourceBergen responded by sourcing rental trucks for them from as far away as Oklahoma and Kansas. Using two-way radios, these couriers communicated with AmerisourceBergen scout drivers to find the best pathways to take for completing their deliveries to hospitals, pharmacies and clinics.

 

Employees of AmerisourceBergen committed tremendous time and resources to these efforts, using duck boats and helicopters in many cases to navigate the destruction and deliver supplies directly to patients. In response to reports of major hospitals turning cancer patients away due to inaccessibility caused by flooding, one AmerisourceBergen employee drove over 900 miles to deliver oncology supplies to alternate medical facilities in the area, allowing them to provide critical cancer treatments for those affected patients.

 

Source: Healthcare Ready interview, AmerisourceBergen Press Release

AmerisourceBergen Uses Cubixx Platform and Foresight to Procure Medications for Harvey

While the Texas Gulf Coast was battered by Harvey, AmerisourceBergen was moving temperature-sensitive and other specialty medications into the region. With a planned helicopter supply flight bound for Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, ASD/Cubixx employees leveraged foresight and regional threat expertise to include on that flight a suite of soon-to-be-necessary medical supplies such as tetanus boosters, snake anti-venom, and rabies vaccines.

 

This proved useful in a situation which eventually brought flesh-eating infections, venomous insects and reptiles, and diseased mammals all into close contact with the survivors of the storm.

 

In addition, the Cubixx/ASD Healthcare team was able to monitor inventory at 10 other Cubixx locations across greater Houston and transfer those products as needed. AmerisourceBergen can deliver lifesaving medications to a disaster area even if a courier is unavailable, through special agreements permitting first responders to deliver products for them, and other emergency flight delivery arrangements. Source: Healthcare Ready interview, AmerisourceBergen Press Release

Cardinal Health Works Around the Clock to Support Puerto Rico and USVI

Cardinal Health, a global, integrated healthcare services and products company, takes its responsibility to maintain service to its customers during crisis situations very seriously.

 

One example of this is during the 2017 hurricane season when Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) were hit hard by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. A primary pharmaceutical and medical distributor in the region, Cardinal Health played a major role in moving relief products and ensuring the company’s many customers – and their patients – were able to access these much-needed supplies during a very difficult time. The company’s extensive distribution presence proved especially important in the USVI, which faced extensive damage from the hurricanes and remained without power in most areas for two months.

 

Not only was Cardinal Health able to partner with vendors and ensure local shipping requirements were met, it was able to maintain the integrity of its healthcare supply chain while managing the complexities of access to healthcare during the emergency. When the company’s warehouses were damaged, repairs were made swiftly to ensure temperature and pest controls were consistently monitored and met all appropriate standards. Importantly, the company preserved its cold chain process and standards of integrity with medications to ensure that customers were not affected during this “last mile” of the supply chain.

 

Finally, in support of these recovery efforts, Cardinal Health employees went far above and beyond their normal “call of duty,” even while many of them were rebuilding their own lives. Many employees worked closely with hospitals and acute care facilities to ensure patients had access to care and medications throughout the recovery efforts. Since telephone and other electronic communications were not available, Cardinal Health employees physically visited hospital customers right away to assess their needs and help them replenish supplies. Paper forms were used and brought back to Cardinal Health facilities to process them and deliver supplies that same day. In addition, some employees even worked in customers’ pharmacies to support patients who needed direct access to healthcare supplies during this natural disaster.

 

Cardinal Health employees came to work each day during this time – often under very challenging circumstances – because they understood the important role they played in providing healthcare to Puerto Rico and the USVI.

 

Source: Healthcare Ready interview

Pfizer Connects to the Community in the Puerto Rico

Pfizer operates extensively on the island of Puerto Rico, with many patients receiving prescription assistance through Pfizer RxPathways’ largest access program, the Pfizer Patient Assistance Program. With Hurricane Maria looming and the prospect of a health crisis seeming likely, Pfizer took steps to activate its standard natural disaster protocols so that any of its patients ultimately impacted by the storm could receive early or replacement medication and could have medicine shipper to wherever they were.

 

In the devastation following, however, Pfizer quickly found that its standard relief efforts would not be enough to adequately assist. With shipping carriers down and delivery services significantly disrupted, Pfizer needed to modify its program and explore alternate channels to reach its patients, and they turned to Healthcare Ready for help.

 

Using the Rx Open map and Healthcare Ready contacts, Pfizer tracked down operational pharmacies which carried their products and coordinated efforts to ensure patients could easily retrieve their medicines there. Pfizer and Healthcare Ready used radio, social media, and paper fliers to widely communicate the status and locations of these pharmacies as part of a vast messaging campaign to inform affected individuals of the emergency expansion of the Pfizer Patient Assistance Program into local retail pharmacies.

 

This joint effort went far beyond simply reaching out to a large chain’s corporate headquarters for pharmacy status and location. The role that local and community pharmacies played – unified with Pfizer, Healthcare Ready, and many more – cannot be overstated, as these businesses and individuals provided the ground-level mobilization to help ensure patients had continued and uninterrupted access to their Pfizer medicines. Source: Healthcare Ready interview