"Innovation is the key to our commercial success and at the same time the basis of our social commitment," said Dr. Jörg Reinhardt, Chief Executive Officer of Bayer HealthCare AG. "That's why we invest significantly in research and development of new treatment options. We want as many people as possible to share this progress - regardless of their income or where they live."
At present, more than 200 million women in developing countries who do not want to get pregnant have no access to modern contraception and family planning services. As a leading company in the field of hormonal contraception, Bayer HealthCare has been working in a network of public and private partners for over 50 years and supports family-planning programs in over 130 countries.
This latest initiative is a further step ahead in this direction. When fully implemented, the new initiative is expected to avert unintended pregnancies in 27 million women in developing countries. It will avert about 280,000 infant and almost 30,000 maternal deaths.
For Bayer HealthCare, this initiative is part of its "Access to Medicine" strategy, where the company is cooperating with a number of private and state organizations. Through its "Family Planning" and "Neglected Diseases" lighthouse projects, the company is enabling access to health care. The "Family Planning" lighthouse projects also address three of the eight Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations: strengthening equal opportunities, reducing child mortality and improving health care for mothers.
The initiative is targeted to the about 42 of the world's poorest countries that have also been targeted by the UN Secretary General's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. These are the countries thought least likely to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals set by the UN General Assembly in 1990 to reduce the number of infant and young child deaths by two thirds and to improve maternal health by 2015.
In addition Bayer HealthCare supports the UN Millennium Development Goal 6 and is convinced that fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) is of major significance to public health and economic development. Bayer acknowledges the need to partner with governments, donors, NGOs and other pharmaceutical companies to invest in preventing and controlling this diverse group of diseases. Within its lighthouse project "Neglected diseases" Bayer HealthCare is working closely with WHO to fight Chagas disease in Latin America and the African sleeping sickness. Bayer HealthCare is also committed to tackling tuberculosis, a highly drug-resistant disease in tropical regions in particular. As a partner in the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, Bayer is involved in the development of a therapy that reduces the duration of treatment from six to four months.
About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 17.2 billion (2011), is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover, develop, manufacture and market products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Bayer HealthCare has a global workforce of 55,700 employees (Dec 31, 2011) and is represented in more than 100 countries.