Our Efforts Against the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
We express our deepest sorrow for the people who passed away due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We also extend our sincerest condolences to the bereaved families, and our heartfelt sympathies to those who are suffering from or affected by the disease. We would like to show greatest respect and gratitude to healthcare professionals who are trying hard on the medical frontline. We sincerely hope for an end to the pandemic as soon as possible.
In this unprecedented situation, we are addressing stable supply of our pharmaceutical products, minimization of impact on our research and development activities, and support for research on COVID-19 in addition to supporting activities for preventing the spread of COVID-19. We also take measures to ensure the safety and health of our stakeholders, including our employees and their families, and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Our efforts against COVID-19
1．Stable supply of pharmaceutical products
- At the moment, we do not have any immediate hindrance to product supply caused by COVID-19. In Japan, demand for hand sanitizer has remained high, and we have continued making adjustments aimed at ensuring the supply of our products in this area.
- We are considering implementing infection control measures for our employees at our own plants and distribution centers, and minimizing the impact when an infected person is detected. We will continue to monitor changes in the situation and take necessary actions.
- From the recognition of stable supply of the pharmaceutical products that is our social mission, we formulate the business continuity plan (BCP) assuming the occurrence of a severe earthquake and the epidemic of new influenza. Moreover, in order to strengthen the ability to deal promptly with risks such as disaster, we prepare rules and manuals necessary for handling respective potential risks, and carry out educational activities to our employees through training exercises and seminars.
(Reference) Our Initiatives to Risk Management https://www.ds-pharma.com/profile/risk_management/
2．Impacts on our R&D activities
- We consider the safety of patients and the burden on medical institutions in accordance with the guidance on clinical study management issued by the regulatory authorities in each region, and we conduct clinical studies in cooperation with the investigators and Contract Research Organization (CRO).
- Although some studies have suspended new facility entry or new patient enrollment, it is being resumed carefully.
- Considering the safety of patients, we provide pre-mailing of investigational drugs for patients who cannot visit medical institutions.
- We and our group companies in Japan and overseas will continue to closely monitor all clinical studies we carry out and take appropriate responses.
3．Research support activities
- We donated 10 million yen to the Kitasato Institute's Project for COVID-19, which was launched in March 2020 by the Kitasato Institute. This project aims to isolate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from specimens of patients affected by COVID-19, to rapidly identify clinical candidates for the treatment of this novel coronavirus infection through a large-scale screening of approved pharmaceuticals and to save patients' lives.
https://www.ds-pharma.com/ir/news/2020/20000331.html (press release dated March 31, 2020)
- We are providing drug substances in response to a request from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, to cooperate for the "Basic Screening Plan for Drugs for Coronavirus Disease 2019" at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan.
- We participate, as a collaborator, in "COVID-19 Research Database", a consortium that investigates measures against COVID-19. The consortium aims to provide researchers with free access to medical information database to support researches on COVID-19 in the U.S. Datavant, Inc., a subsidiary of our strategic partner Roivant Sciences Ltd., is also a member of the consortium. Access the URL below for detail of the consortium.
https://covid19researchdatabase.org/ (COVID-19 Research Database website)
4．Support activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19
(1) Support activities in Japan
- We donated 20,000 face shields to 15 prefectures mainly consisting of specified hazard prefectures in cooperation with a general plastic manufacturer, Kawamura Kako Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Ibaraki city, Osaka) to support healthcare professionals who test and treat patients suffered from COVID-19. In addition, we produced another 20,000 face shields with donations of more than 10 million yen from our domestic group employees and donated them to 36 prefectures.
- We consigned production of masks and medical gowns to Chinese manufacturers through Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., our subsidiary in China, procure 200,000 masks and 10,000 medical gowns, and donated them to local governments in Japan.
https://www.ds-pharma.com/ir/news/2020/20200428-1.html (press release dated April 28,2020)
(2) Overseas support activities
In the North America
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., our subsidiary in the U.S., has engaged in the following activities.
- In the U.S., Sunovion provided a monetary donation for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) COVID-19 Response Fund, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Office of Emergency Management in New Jersey. Sunovion has partnered with its food service vendor to provide food donations and financial support to several community organizations.
- In Canada, Sunovion has joined forces with Innovative Medicines Canada to set up a COVID-19 fund.
Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., our subsidiary in China, donated RMB 1 million (approximately JPY 15 million) to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation for the prevention and containment of pneumonia caused by infection with the novel coronavirus.
https://www.ds-pharma.com/ir/news/2020/20190129.html (press release dated January 29, 2020)
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Europe Ltd., our subsidiary in the UK, sends the team members as volunteers to support the activities of the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, and delivers food donations to a food bank.
We will update support activities we and our related subsidiaries have provided.
5．Measures to prevent the spread of infection inside and outside the company
We established the "COVID-19 Countermeasure Headquarters" on February 15, 2020 and are taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The initiatives in Japan are as follows.
(1) Measures outside the company
- Events held by our company for outside parties (study meetings, lectures, etc.) have been changed to online meetings, postponed or canceled in principle. When we hold an event, we thoroughly implement infection prevention measures (limiting the number of participants entering and leaving, sanitizing hands, wearing a mask, avoiding 3Cs: Closed spaces with poor ventilation/ Crowded places with many people nearby/ Close-contact setting such as close-range conversations, indoor ventilation, etc.). We adjust the number of participants to 50% or less of the capacity of the conference room.
- We try to reduce the number of guests as much as possible, but when we have guests, we ask them to take temperature measurements, sanitize hands with alcohol, and wear masks.
- In some areas where the spread of COVID-19 is increasing, we refrain from visiting medical institutions in principle. In other areas, we only visit medical institutions that permit us to visit after taking infection prevention measures and carry out the minimum activities. We are also utilizing methods such as online interviews through a web conference system.
(2) Measures for our employees
- All overseas business trips are prohibited in principle.
- Domestic business trips are permitted in consideration of their necessities and their alternatives such as remote conferences.
- We strongly encourage all employees who belong to all business offices in Japan to work from home. When they do come into the office, we are adjusting the percentage of employees who are going to work to 50% or less. In departments that are required to come into the office to continue our business or fulfill our social responsibility as a company, such as laboratories and plants, we are operating with a minimum number of employees.
- When our employees need to come into the office, they should thoroughly carry out infection prevention measures such as sanitizing hands, wearing a mask, and trying to avoid 3Cs. Also, we recommend our employees to proactively take advantage of staggered working hours.
- We recommend all employees to take daily temperature measurements even when they go to work and work from home.
- We conduct in-house meeting and group training in consideration of their necessities and their alternatives of remote operations, and adjust the number of participants to 50% or less of the capacity of the meeting room. As for externally organized events, we recommend our employees to consider the need for attendance and to participate with the minimum number of people.
- We ask our employees to stay at home if they are suspicious of being infected with the novel coronavirus.
- We ask our employees to stay at home if any family members of our employees are infected or suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus.
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and our group companies in Japan and overseas will continue to collect information on COVID-19 from all sides, and will promptly take necessary actions in cooperation with related organizations.