Media Release

18.03.2020

Roche Australia statement on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

SYDNEY, 18 March 2020 –The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) a Pandemic on 11 March 2020. Locally, the Australian Government activated the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), on 27 February 2020, based on the latest and best medical advice. This action by the Australian Government reflects concerns around COVID-19 as a serious health issue.

Roche Australia’s thoughts are with all Australians who have been impacted by COVID-19 and their families, friends and loved ones. We also extend our sincere appreciation to all Australian healthcare professionals and allied health workers who are at the frontline of the COVID-19 response.
 

Roche’s commitment to the response for COVID-19

Roche recognises that a collaborative approach between public and private sectors across the globe, and within Australia, is required to effectively manage this developing situation. As a healthcare company, we are dedicated to working with local and global health authorities to provide any support we can to assist with any response to COVID-19.

There are currently no medicines proven to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19. However, as infectious diseases form a core area of our pharmaceutical research and clinical development focus, we are supporting the WHO and other relevant stakeholders as necessary, to provide expertise and advice on these cases of human coronavirus.
 

Ensuring supply of medicines for Australian patients

With regards to the supply of our medicines and therapies, we have initiated plans to ensure the outbreak of COVID-19 does not impact supply in Australia and feel confident in our ability to continue to provide medicines to patients for the foreseeable future. We continue to monitor demand to mediate potential supply risks. Based on current demand forecasts, we do not anticipate supply interruptions or shortages for any Roche product currently available for Australian patients.

We encourage all members of the community to follow the advice from the Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer and relevant health authorities, such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), regarding accessing their prescription medicines as per normal practice. There is currently no need to stockpile supply of prescription medicines in anticipation of further spread of COVID-19.
 

Supply of Medicines

Roche maintains a Business Continuity Program that includes dedicated provision for responding to a pandemic situation. This includes local, regional and global demand planning systems to provide early warnings of potential shortages of medicines. This response has now been activated. We are working closely with our customers to monitor demand locally to ensure that, should the COVID-19 outbreak become more widespread, we can maintain supply as required.

Globally, we are assessing our supply chains and our suppliers’ supply chains for components and raw materials sourced from impacted countries, including China, as we determine the coverage and potential impact due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As of now, we have not identified any critical component that would affect our ability to supply medicines in the near future, based on current demand forecast.

All Roche global manufacturing sites adhere to specific pandemic plans and guidance, including preventative measures to reduce infection risks and social distancing measures to minimise social contacts. These sites also abide by comprehensive global hygiene and gowning standards and processes to safeguard against potential contamination or cross-contamination.
 

Supply of Diagnostic Tests

As a leader in diagnostics, Roche is committed to providing testing solutions for the world’s most challenging healthcare emergencies. We are delivering as many tests as possible, within the limits of supply.
 

Roche Diabetes Care Products

We are closely monitoring the situation. Our product supply is assured. The delivery of products to/from affected countries is stable. Roche Diabetes Care's production is up and running. Our warehouse stock is sufficiently covered to avoid customer backorders on a global and local level. All Accu-Chek products are available as usual.  
 

Ongoing support for local clinical trials

While Australian clinical trials which are sponsored or supported by Roche are continuing at this time, ensuring patient treatment and safety will remain our priority. We are monitoring guidance from participating hospitals and trial sites regarding any impacts or changes to clinical trial operations, which may occur as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Supply of Roche investigational products for clinical trials is currently not impacted.

To support efforts to contain the spread of the virus and implement social distancing practices, Roche will be encouraging virtual and remote contact with all trial centres (including IQVIA) during this period.
 

Proactive measures to protect our people, our customers, and the community

Roche’s priority is to protect our people, our customers, and the wider community. We have been carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation and listening to insights from our customer-facing employees in the field. As the local situation has escalated - and many of the patients we serve fall within vulnerable populations - the focus is now on containing the spread of the virus as much as possible.

As of Monday, 16 March 2020,  all Roche customer facing employees were advised they will now be conducting all business virtually and no longer holding face to face meetings with any of our customers. This means that until further notice, meetings regarding Roche business with healthcare professionals and other stakeholders should not take place in person. This will be revisited in line with advice from local health authorities.
 

Encouraging social distancing for office-based employees

From Monday, 23 March 2020, all office-based employees of Roche Australia will be working from home as the preferred option, in line with social distancing recommendations by local health authorities. The office will remain open for employees if needed, during this time.

Roche has a responsibility to ensure the health and wellbeing of our people and the wider community by assisting to minimise exposure to the virus and help contain the spread of COVID-19.
 

Further information

For daily updates on COVID-19 in Australia and access to important information and resources, please visit the Australian Government Department of Health site, at: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Media Contact

For all media enquiries, please contact Roche Products Pty Limited:

Jenny Walters +61 407 929243

Rachael Bylykbashi +61 427 384 344

For all media enquiries specific to Roche Diagnostics Limited, please contact:

Allison Rossiter +61 436 455 257

For all media enquiries specific to Roche Diabetes Care Pty Limited, please contact:

Anne-Maree Toohey +61 450 342 820