Our COVID-19 Response

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to everyone who has been affected by COVID-19.

At Astellas, the health and well-being of our patients, employees and communities is our primary focus. With the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally, we are, as part of our mission as a pharmaceutical company, taking various actions and measures to contribute to securing the safety of patients and alleviating strain on healthcare resources. 

We are continuing to monitor the situation, and will provide additional information and updates as necessary.

Maintaining Our Supply Chain

At present, the supply, manufacturing and distribution of Astellas products across our Established Markets (including Europe, Canada and Australia) is not impacted, and patients will continue to be able to receive all approved medicines, without interruption related to COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, Astellas remains focused on protecting our ability to manufacture and supply safe and effective medicines for patients who need them, including therapies for vulnerable patients such as those who have undergone transplantation or are living with life-threatening conditions such as cancer.


Our COVID-19 response teams across the world continue to be in close contact with our supply chain colleagues, ensuring patients continue to receive their medication.”

Dirk Kosche,
President,
Established Markets Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.

Protecting Our Employees

In an effort to help contain the spread of COVID-19, we have requested that our field-based employees, including sales representatives, medical science liaisons (MSLs), and access & reimbursement personnel suspend all in-person activities with healthcare professionals and other external stakeholders.

Our employees across facilities and affiliates have been asked to work from home, except in exceptional circumstances, and we have restricted international and domestic travel and suspended participation in large external events until further notice.

These actions are temporary, preventative steps to protect healthcare providers, patients, and our employees and communities against exposure to COVID-19. We continue to monitor and assess the COVID-19 situation and will update our guidance as necessary.

This is an unprecedented situation for everyone and of particular concern to those with underlying health conditions - we are finding new ways to stay close to colleagues and the healthcare heroes in need of our help to ensure safe use of our medicines. Relying on our strong culture of collaboration and care, we are committed to delivering value for patients and remain open for questions or concerns through our Medical Information teams.”

Ghislaine Leleu,
SVP Medical Affairs,
Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.

Assisting Research & Development Efforts

At this time, Astellas is not actively studying a potential treatment for the COVID-19 virus, but we are working with regulatory authorities and global health agencies to provide mechanism of action and clinical data on our investigational drugs and approved products for their evaluation.

Clinical Trials

In an effort to help ensure patient safety and alleviate strain on healthcare resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, Astellas is implementing changes to our clinical trial operations.

In countries with rapid growth of new COVID-19 cases, Astellas is suspending start-up activities involving study sites for new interventional clinical studies. We are also suspending enrolment of new patients in ongoing studies. In countries no longer experiencing rapid COVID-19 case growth, we are resuming or continuing study activities.

Consistent with recently issued guidance from US and EU regulatory bodies, Astellas is assessing protocols and implementing measures to reduce the burden to healthcare systems while ensuring that patient safety can be maintained.

We will frequently reassess this approach, which applies to all interventional clinical trials led by Astellas and its subsidiaries and affiliates. Some clinical trials led by our collaboration partners may implement a different approach.

Astellas remains focused on protecting patients, employees and our business, while maintaining regulatory compliance and data integrity across clinical development programs. As hospitals and clinics continue to address the needs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that resources be focused on that challenge.

Supporting Our Communities

Astellas recognises the positive role that industry can play in supporting Government and National Health Service efforts to respond to the increasing demands on healthcare systems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We continue our support of EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) in our collaboration with the European Commission and the European Medicines Agency by providing weekly situational assessment and disseminating their latest requests and needs across our company. We are also collaborating with EFPIA in the detection, prevention and treatment response to COVID-19 through the different collaborations started since the start of the pandemic.

Across our Established Markets (including Europe, Canada and Australia), Astellas is supporting multiple requests for support from national governments, public hospitals, patient groups and non-profit organisations.

In response to these requests:

  • We are funding patient groups to expand and enhance their support to address challenges faced by patients presented by COVID-19, for example through helplines, telemedicine and remote monitoring, for oncology and transplant patients. 
     
  • We continue to partner with patient organisations in the region to understand their needs and how the pandemic is impacting on the ground. Through active listening we are able to fully understand the need they are looking to address in a timely way and work to try to find solutions to support them.
     
  • We have donated face masks to public hospitals in Italy and to the Ministry of Health in Spain for distribution to public hospitals.
    • Astellas Italy (Astellas Pharma S.p.A) has donated 150,000 Euros for the necessary supply of goods to public medical institutions and NPOs. 
    • Astellas Spain (Astellas Pharma S.A) has donated 200,000 Euros to the Ministry of Health for the necessary supply of goods to medical institutions.
       
  • We have many employees who feel a need to help our communities at this time and we may have individuals whose skills would be beneficial, including qualified medics. We are therefore working to facilitate employee volunteering, wherever possible.
     
  • We are actively investigating how we can adapt our external affairs projects to ensure that we support our stakeholders to address the short and long-term impact of COVID-19. For example, we are engaging with members of the Expert Group of the Let’s Talk Prostate Cancer campaign – a pan-European policy initiative to support people living with prostate cancer – to understand how COVID-19 will affect health systems, healthcare professionals and patients, and how we can bring these issues to the attention of European policymakers.
     
  • Globally, the Astellas Global Health Foundation will open a Request for Proposal in April to enable emergency funding to select national and global humanitarian organisations who are working tirelessly to fight COVID-19 in countries where Astellas does not have a commercial presence. These efforts align with the Foundation’s standard operating procedures and policies.

It is vital that we continue to engage with patient groups to ensure that patients and patient communities receive the support they need.”

Stephen Head,
Senior Director Patient Advocacy,
Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.

Further Information

For further information about the COVID-19 pandemic, please see guidance from the World Health Organisation

Questions?

If you have any questions relating to Astellas’ response to COVID-19, please contact us here

 

NON_2020_0046_APE. April 2020