Abbott Laboratories and Boehringer Ingelheim Donate Test Kit and AIDS Drug to Help Prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. -- Pharmaceutical companies Abbott Laboratories and Boehringer Ingelheim announced today a cooperative arrangement that will help prevent the transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child (PMTCT) in the developing world.

Through this cooperative arrangement, eligible organizations with comprehensive PMTCT prevention can receive -- at no charge -- Abbott's Determine HIV 1/2 rapid tests and VIRAMUNE (nevirapine) an antiretroviral treatment discovered and developed by Boehringer Ingelheim. In addition to providing tests and treatment, the alliance will enable greater access to these donated products, make it easier for recipient organisations to receive product donations and encourage the creation of new PMTCT programs in the developing world. Abbott and Boehringer Ingelheim have jointly approached eligible organisations and have arranged for one common application to both donations.

Eligible PMTCT programs will be able to offer pregnant women Abbott's rapid HIV test, as well as Boehringer Ingelheim's intervention antiretroviral treatment VIRAMUNE, if they test positive for HIV.

Both companies are working with Axios International, an organization for improvement of healthcare in developing countries, to provide a simple application process for PMTCT programs. Participating agencies that support qualified PMTCT programs include the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Catholic Medical Mission Board, Family Health International and many more.

"Turning the tide against the spread of HIV from mother to child requires the cooperation and leadership of many stakeholders," said Miles D. White, chairman and CEO of Abbott Laboratories. "We're pleased to partner with Boehringer Ingelheim on this important effort that can make a difference in saving the lives of many children. This cooperation will help prevent HIV transmission and assist these developing nations stabilis their future."

"This alliance is an example of how the health care industry can work together and leverage its scientific talent and resources to help make a real difference fighting this disease," added Prof. Rolf Krebs, chairman of the board of managing directors of Boehringer Ingelheim.

Boehringer Ingelheim announced its VIRAMUNE Donation Program in July 2000. Since then, 93 programs are operating in 44 developing countries. In these programs, pregnant women receive one tablet of VIRAMUNE during labor and the child receives a dose of VIRAMUNE suspension within the first 72 hours after being born. This regimen has been found to be effective in reducing the virus transmission from mother to child in an easy and safe way.

In June 2002, Abbott made a commitment to donate up to 20 million of its Determine HIV rapid tests to programs addressing PMTCT in 68 developing countries, including all of Africa. To date, nearly a half million tests have been shipped to qualified PMTCT programs. "Enabling pregnant women to know their HIV status is the first step toward prevention," said Rob Dintruff, director of Abbott's global care initiatives, which includes the Determine HIV donation program. "Those who test positive can take action to reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission to their children and those who test negative can receive prevention counseling."

Source: Abbott Laboratories and Boehringer Ingelheim

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