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Leverkusen, April 14, 2020 – Bayer joins the fight against COVID-19 diseases by donating 8 million chloroquine tablets to the German Federal Government. The supply has been provided by Chinese manufacturers. The medication will be transferred to the responsible bodies in the next few days. The company has already donated several million chloroquine tablets over the past few weeks to governments in different countries, including states particularly heavily affected by the corona pandemic such as China, Italy and the USA.
“Various tests in laboratories and clinics have shown initial evidence that chloroquine could be suitable for the treatment of COVID-19 patients,” explains Werner Baumann, Bayer AG Chairman. “If this is confirmed in further studies, we will do everything in our power to manufacture adequate quantities of chloroquine in Europe by providing production capacities.” Bayer will produce the medication solely for the common good and distribute to governments free of charge during the crisis. “With this, we also want to provide rapid aid through additional donations, using our experts in the field of healthcare, as well as equipment and other measures,” explains Baumann.
Chloroquine is a prescription anti-malaria medication that has well researched adverse effects in this regard, but can also cause damage to health if used incorrectly. It must be taken exclusively under medical guidance to guarantee patient safety. To ensure that this is the case, Bayer is only donating this medication to state bodies and for clinical trials to be carried out.
The active ingredient chloroquine was developed by Bayer more than 80 years ago for the prophylaxis and treatment of malaria diseases. During the SARS pandemic in 2002/2003, preclinical trials showed that the medication could possibly have been used successfully against SARS corona viruses. Chinese scientists have since carried out further systematic research on the antiviral effect of chloroquine and came to the conclusion in February 2020 that chloroquine could also be effective against SARS-COV-2 viruses, the current corona pandemic trigger.
The clinical efficacy of chloroquine, however, remains unconfirmed. The medication is currently being tested in several studies around the world for efficacy against COVID-19 infections. These studies include the “Solidarity” study carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO), the “Discovery” study run by the French Research Organization INSERM and the “Recovery” study from the University of Oxford. Bayer is part of the COVID-19 Therapeutic Accelerator Initiative run by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and, as a result, is therefore also involved in clinical trials. Scientists are hoping for adequate results in the coming weeks. If the benefit is confirmed scientifically, chloroquine could be used generally on a large scale and also in less developed countries.
The current donations of medication by Bayer join the ranks of a variety of measures with which Bayer is involved in the fight against the corona epidemic worldwide making use of medical products, technical equipment, and the skills and commitment of its employees. You can find a current overview here: https://www.bayer.com/en/coronavirus-covid-19-update.aspx. All press releases by Bayer on the corona pandemic are summarized in the digital press kit: https://www.media.bayer.com/baynews/baynews.nsf/id/Presskit-Corona?
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
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This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
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