As of Friday, Sanofi has committed to donating 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to 50 countries around the world and has begun to progressively deliver the medicine to authorities that have requested it.
In a statement, Sanofi said that in this global health emergency, it stands ready to assist as many countries as possible, starting with countries where its medicine is registered for current approved indications as well as countries where there are no hydroxychloroquine suppliers or countries with underserved populations.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Sanofi has received a growing number of requests from local governments around the world. The company is regularly evaluating its increasing supply capacity and re-assessing how best to help those countries in the most ethical way. Sanofi’s priority is to ensure supply continuity for patients treated under the current approved indications of the medicine, notably including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, while working hard to supply governments wishing to increase stocks in the hope that it may be an effective treatment of COVID-19.
Sanofi added it will continue to donate the medicine to governments and hospital institutions if ongoing clinical studies demonstrate its efficacy and safety in COVID-19 patients.
Sanofi has already doubled its incremental production capacity (on top of the usual production for current indications) across its eight hydroxychloroquine manufacturing sites worldwide and is on track to quadruple it by the summer.
Sanofi also called for coordination among the entire hydroxychloroquine chain worldwide to ensure the continued supply of the medicine if proven to be a well-tolerated and effective treatment in COVID-19 patients.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health and economic crisis which is shaking some of the very fundamentals of international solidarity and cooperation among countries”, says Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer at Sanofi. “This virus does not care about the concept of borders, so we shouldn’t either. It is critical that international authorities, local governments, manufacturers, and all the other players involved in the hydroxychloroquine chain work together in a coordinated manner to ensure all patients who may benefit from this potential treatment can access it. If the trials prove positive, we hope our donation will play a critical role for patients.”
The company is already actively working with different stakeholders at local and international levels, and is ready to play its part in contributing to a more coordinated global initiative.
At this point, the interpretations of the available preliminary data on hydroxychloroquine in the management of COVID-19 differ widely. In this context, patient safety must always be the guiding principle.
Hydroxychloroquine has several serious known side effects and should be used with caution. Not everyone can take this medicine.
To date, there is insufficient clinical evidence to draw any conclusion over the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the management of COVID-19 patients. It is one of several medicines being investigated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its international clinical trial seeking a treatment solution for COVID-19. Sanofi is supporting ongoing trials by providing the medicine to some participating investigator sites and other independent research centers.
While hydroxychloroquine is generating a lot of hope for patients around the world, it should be remembered that there are no results from ongoing studies, and the results may be positive or negative.
Sanofi remains at the forefront of initiatives to fight the coronavirus, while also carrying on the daily business of making and delivering important medicines for patients. The company is also exploring alternative treatment options such as Kevzara® (sarilumab) for severe COVID-19 patients, and leveraging its expertise to develop a new vaccine. Both measures could have an immediate and a lasting impact. Dealing with a pandemic as daunting as COVID-19 requires collaboration to create as many paths forward as possible, and Sanofi is helping lead the way, playing its part.