Bristol-Myers Squibb, Baylor College of Medicine to Launch Pediatric AIDS Corps For Africa
Company to Build Additional Clinical Centers;
Cuts Price of Pediatric HIV Formulations
(HOUSTON and NEW YORK, June 27, 2005) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, New York (NYSE:BMY) and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, today announced a groundbreaking multi-part program to provide medical care for African children with HIV/AIDS. A pediatric AIDS corps will be created to send up 250 doctors to Africa to treat approximately 80,000 children over the next five years and to train local health care professionals. In addition four new children's clinical centers of excellence will be built in a $40 million program.
Separately, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced it also is reducing the price of pediatric formulations of HIV medicines in the world's least developed countries to expand access to treatment.
The pediatric AIDS corps and children's clinical centers are the latest additions to Bristol-Myers Squibb's SECURE THE FUTURE program, which has previously awarded nearly 200 grants totaling $120 million in sub-Saharan Africa, and Baylor College of Medicine's International Pediatric AIDS Initiative, which has built and operates several of the world's largest pediatric HIV/AIDS treatment centers in developing countries in Africa and Eastern Europe. Bristol-Myers Squibb's new commitment is approximately $30 million and Baylor's is $10 million.
"Our goal is to help save the lives of many thousands of African children, many of whom would otherwise face sure death from HIV/AIDS," said Peter R. Dolan, chief executive officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb. "This program brings pediatricians and family practitioners to Africa to treat children and train local health professionals, builds more children's clinical centers from which the physicians will operate, and further reduces the cost of our HIV medicines."
"This groundbreaking program addresses all the major barriers to treatment of HIV-infected children in Africa," said Mark W. Kline, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, chief of retrovirology at Texas Children's Hospital and director, Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative. “Fewer than one percent of the estimated 2.2 million children living globally with AIDS are being treated. The trilateral initiative we are announcing today makes it possible to treat huge numbers of HIV-infected children across Africa, changing forever the way pediatric HIV/AIDS is perceived and managed.”
Pediatric AIDS Corps
Fifty physicians will be recruited in the first year of the program, and as many as 250 physicians will be recruited over the next five years. Participants will be expected to commit to one or two years of service in Africa treating children with HIV/AIDS and sharing their expertise with local health care professionals. Living stipends, loan forgiveness of up to $40,000 a year and training in tropical medicine and HIV/AIDS will be offered to participating physicians.
Recruitment begins today with discussions with several leading U.S. medical schools. Recent graduates from approved residency training programs in pediatrics and family medicine will work in the field but will be linked to a network of children's centers that serve as hubs for comprehensive treatment of children and their families. More information about the AIDS corps, including how interested physicians can apply, can be found on Baylor's website, www.bayloraids.org.
Children's Clinical Centers of Excellence
The children's clinic network, operated by the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative, already includes three sites in sub-Saharan Africa funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb's SECURE THE FUTURE initiative - one in Botswana and two under construction - one in Lesotho and one in Swaziland.
New clinical centers will be added in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso and Kampala, Uganda. The Burkina Faso center will be the first pediatric HIV/AIDS center in West Africa. The Kampala center will replace a facility too small for the growing patient population. Two additional centers will be established in the developing world through the initiative. Sites for these additional centers have not yet been selected. Other Baylor College of Medicine children's centers are located in Malawi and Romania.
“We hope to build on the success of the Bristol-Myers Squibb-Baylor-Botswana program in treating a population that has deeply touched us and that remains the most underserved HIV population - the children of Africa,” said John L. McGoldrick, executive vice president of Bristol-Myers Squibb.
According to UNAIDS and WHO, an estimated 1.9 million of the 2.2 million children living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa. A recent UNICEF news release noted, “Children represent a disproportionate number of those needing immediate AIDS treatment…The vast majority of children who become HIV-positive will die before age 5 without treatment. Globally, between three and five per cent of deaths in children under age 5 are now attributable to AIDS. In hard-hit countries, AIDS causes between a third and half of child deaths.”
“Too many children in the developing world are falling victim to HIV/AIDS due in large part to a combination of lack of trained health care professionals and adequate facilities which limit the reach of care and treatment. These new programs address these major problems head-on,” said Dolan.
Each of the new clinical centers in Burkina Faso and Uganda, like others in the network, will provide services directly to as many as 3,000 children at any one time and will have outreach programs that can serve as many as 10,000 to 20,000 children in surrounding areas. Dr. Kline described the centers as focal points for primary care for children in and around the communities where they are located, as well as for training of local health professionals in pediatric HIV/AIDS care and treatment. They will provide technical assistance to enable scale-up of care and treatment programs regionally and nationally.
The centers will be modeled after the Botswana-Baylor Children's Clinical Center of Excellence at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone, Botswana, which now has more than 1,200 children in treatment, one of the largest concentrations of HIV-infected children in care in any center worldwide.
"Children are not small adults. Care and treatment programs must address this fact as well as the critical shortage of professionals trained in pediatric care and treatment,” said Dr. Kline. “Scaling up the care and treatment of tens of thousands of HIV-infected children will take a commitment to partnerships. Governments, academic and health care institutions, community and faith-based organizations and business communities in both developed and developing countries have a role to play.”
In another aspect of the three-part initiative, Bristol-Myers Squibb is further reducing the price of the pediatric formulations for HIV/AIDS medicines in sub-Saharan Africa and low income countries around the world. Since 2001 Bristol-Myers Squibb has offered its HIV medicines in sub-Saharan Africa at no profit and has provided immunity from suit to generic companies for the company's HIV/AIDS medicines in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 1999, Bristol-Myers Squibb and its Foundation launched SECURE THE FUTURE, then a $100 million commitment to help alleviate the HIV/AIDS crisis among women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the years, the public-private initiative - the first and largest corporate commitment of its kind to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa - has grown in size and scope to encompass nearly 200 grants providing medical care and research, infrastructure- and capacity-building and community outreach and education in nine hard-hit countries in southern and West Africa. Today's announcement extends the company's commitment in Africa to nearly $150 million.
Through SECURE THE FUTURE, Ministries of Health, medical institutions, health care professionals, non-governmental, community-based and faith-based organizations have worked together to build sustainable models to address medical, educational and community outreach needs in southern and West Africa. In addition to the Children's Clinical Centers of Excellence, other programs developed and operated through grants include: a Community-Based Treatment Support Program for sustainable care, with sites in South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and Mali; and the BMS Foundation NGO Training Institute focusing on capacity-building in five southern African nations.
In addition to its commitment in Africa, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation funds programs through its Global HIV/AIDS Initiative in Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Russia, the Ukraine and France.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global pharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life.
Baylor College of Medicine, one of the nation's top academic health sciences centers, is committed to advancing human health through the integration of patient care, research, education and community service.
Visit Bristol-Myers Squibb on the World Wide Web at: www.bms.com
Visit SECURE THE FUTURE on the World Wide Web at: www.securethefuture.com
Visit Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at www.bayloraids.org
Bristol-Myers, Baylor College To Launch $40M Pediatric
HIV/AIDS Treatment Initiative in Developing Nations
Pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and Baylor
College of Medicine on Monday are expected to announce they will
launch a $40 million initiative to treat children living with
HIV/AIDS in developing countries, the AP/Cincinnati Enquirer
reports. Under the initiative, which is part of the drug maker's
Secure the Future program, Baylor -- which is based in Houston,
Texas -- and New York-based BMS will send as many as 250
physicians to Africa for a two-year program to train local
health care workers and treat HIV-positive children. Baylor will
contribute approximately $10 million to the program to pay up to
$40,000 per person in student loans for participating doctors.
BMS will contribute $30 million to the initiative, a portion of
which will be used to pay each participating doctor an annual
stipend of $30,000 plus living expenses (Agovino, AP/Cincinnati
Enquirer, 6/27). BMS also will reduce the price of pediatric
formulations of its antiretroviral drugs Zerit and Videx in
developing countries. The cost of Videx will be reduced from
$1.50 daily to 85 cents daily, and Zerit will be offered at 15
cents daily, down from $1.43. In addition, the company is
building four children's clinics -- two in Africa and two in
non-African countries highly affected by HIV/AIDS. Clinics in
Uganda and Burkina Faso are expected to open next summer, and
clinics in Russia and China are being considered.
"This really gets at one of the unmet needs on the continent of
Africa -- the treatment of children and the great many children
who are dying because they don't have access to lifesaving
medicines," Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation President John
Damonti said. However, some HIV/AIDS advocates said that the
program does not do enough to address the mass emigration of
health care workers from Africa or make more drugs available to
HIV-positive children. "We need a bigger solution than what
they're proposing," Global AIDS Alliance Executive Director Paul
Zeitz said, adding, "There are 500,000 children dying of AIDS
each year and most are in Africa. They shouldn't be patting
themselves on the back" (Silverman/Jordan, Newark Star Ledger,
6/27). He added that BMS should fund more medical schools in
Africa and permit other drug makers to manufacture generic
versions of its antiretrovirals to further reduce their costs.
BMS spokesperson Becky Taylor said that the pharmaceutical
company does not enforce its patents in Africa so that generic
manufacturers can make copies of its medications. "We agree the
problem is immense, and we hope others will join us in the
effort," she said (AP/Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/27).