Janssen launches first-of-its-kind paediatric HIV treatment donation programme in sub-Saharan Africa

pharambiz.com | December 10, 2013

Janssen, the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, has launched a first-of-its-kind paediatric HIV treatment donation programme to improve access to the company's approved HIV medicines for children and adolescents failing HIV treatment in sub-Saharan Africa.

At a symposium entitled When Children Need HIV Treatment Beyond First-Line: How Can We All Respond? at the 17th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), Ministries of Health (MOHs) in sub-Saharan Africa were invited to submit a formal Expression of Interest to participate in the charitable paediatric HIV treatment donation programme.

Through this programme, Janssen will donate its HIV medicines PREZISTA (darunavir) and INTELENCE (etravirine), including child-friendly formulations, free of charge to eligible countries with the clinical capacity and willingness to address second- and third-line paediatric HIV treatment. Each child enrolled will receive Janssen's donated HIV medicines as needed until they turn 19 at which point they will be transitioned into the adult national HIV programme or other designated by the national HIV programme for continued treatment.

The donation programme is intended to be a first step in a broader collaborative effort to build awareness, incite action, and advance learning around second- and third-line paediatric HIV treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. Janssen is working with the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation, the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM), and MAP International to fully maximize the impact and reach of this initiative.

"The donation programme is part of our longstanding commitment to help people living with HIV and enhance access to our medicines for those in need. Only a third of the three million children living with HIV are receiving medicines today, and of those children receiving treatment, a small but growing number are experiencing HIV treatment failures and are in need of new treatment options," said Paul Stoffels, MD, chief scientific officer, Johnson & Johnson and worldwide chairman, Janssen. "We hope this innovative donation programme is the first step in sparking further collaborative action across sub-Saharan Africa for children who are experiencing HIV treatment failure. Our vision is that these children receive the HIV treatment and care they need to stay healthy and grow to become healthy, productive young adults."

Treatment of paediatric HIV remains significantly neglected in sub-Saharan Africa. Responding to the challenge of HIV treatment-experienced children requires a comprehensive effort to help guide countries in the provision of necessary and appropriate care for this neglected population. This includes improving understanding of the problem, expanding national treatment guidelines beyond first-line, increasing healthcare capacity for pediatric HIV treatment and monitoring, and ensuring that availability of co-administered HIV medicines remains a priority.

The submission period for the Expression of Interest by country MOHs to participate in the drug donation initiative will run from January 15, 2014 until February 14, 2014. An independent, third-party review committee of international experts in paediatric HIV will review all applications to determine country eligibility to receive the donation. Country approvals will be announced in March 2014.

Janssen is dedicated to addressing and solving the most important unmet medical needs of our time, including in oncology (e.g., multiple myeloma and prostate cancer), immunology (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, IBD and psoriasis), neuroscience (e.g., schizophrenia, dementia and pain), infectious disease (e.g., HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and tuberculosis), and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (e.g., diabetes).