Media Release

27.05.2020

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

SYDNEY, 27 May 2020 – Roche Australia (Roche) extends its sincere appreciation to all frontline health workers, allied health workers and essential service providers - along with all federal and state governments and chief medical officers - for their ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) across the country and keep Australians safe and well. 

Our response throughout the pandemic has focused on leveraging our existing strengths, capabilities and relationships. Our people around the world have been working day and night to develop, manufacture and supply key tests and medicines where they are needed most. We continue to partner closely with healthcare providers, laboratories, authorities and organisations to make sure that patients receive the tests, treatment and care they need.
 

Ensuring supply of medicines for Australian patients

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Roche has been focused on safeguarding the continued supply of our medicines for Australian patients. By working closely with our global supply chain partners, there have been no disruptions or delays to the supply of any Roche medicine, to date, for Australian patients who need them, despite challenges with the movement of international freight during this time.
 

Supply of Diagnostic Tests

As a leader in diagnostics, Roche is committed to providing testing solutions for the world’s most challenging healthcare emergencies, including COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, Roche Diagnostics Australia continues to supply two separate SARS-CoV-2 tests to diagnose COVID-19 and help health services to contain the spread of infection, particularly as the scope of testing increases to ensure maximum coverage nationally.

Our third test for COVID-19 is our newly launched Anti-SARS-CoV-2 serology test. This new test detects antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in people who have been diagnosed with, or may have been exposed to, COVID-19 - including those who have not displayed any symptoms. The results of this test will help to determine if a person has gained immunity to the virus.
 

Supply of Roche Diabetes Care Products 

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. The delivery of products to/from affected countries is currently stable. All of Roche Diabetes Care's production sites remain operational. We are working closely with our wholesalers to ensure local stock levels sufficiently cover demand.
 

The search for a COVID-19 treatment

There are currently no approved, or proven, treatment options in Australia for COVID-19. However, as infectious diseases form a core area of our pharmaceutical research and clinical development focus, Roche is actively involved in understanding the potential of some of our existing portfolio of medicines in patients with this serious clinical condition. We remain engaged and committed to providing our expertise and advice in this area, to assist local and global health authorities and relevant stakeholders find potential treatment solutions to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 

Ongoing support for local clinical trials

There are currently more than 6,000 Australian patients enrolled in various Roche clinical trials, across 300 local trial sites.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, Roche’s priority has been, and will continue to be, minimising disruption to patients enrolled in these clinical studies, whilst ensuring patient safety and the ongoing supply of treatment. 

We have implemented a number of measures to ensure continued treatment for Australian patients on our clinical trials. These measures abide by local physical distancing requirements and include remote monitoring of clinical trial sites; adoption of telehealth services to connect with trial participants; and delivering Roche investigational medicines or products for use in clinical trials directly to participants’ homes. 
 

Supporting the medical community 

As local COVID-19 restrictions ease, Roche remains committed to ensuring the continued supply of our medicines and products for Australians who need them, as well as the ongoing operation of our local clinical trials. 

We will continue to explore and adopt new ways of working with the medical community, and our other partners, including utilising new digital technologies and tools, to maintain physical distancing guidelines and safeguard their wellbeing.

A number of specific initiatives have been implemented to support Healthcare Professionals and provide them with up to date information during this time.
 

Protecting our people

Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our people is a key priority at Roche. To better support our people as they adapt to new ways of working, Roche has employed a number of practices throughout this period. These include access to increased online support, information and tools; provision of online mental health and wellbeing services, such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga and exercise classes; regular check-ins with colleagues; and support for individual circumstances (e.g. home schooling, caring for family members/elderly, living alone etc).
 

Supporting patient groups, not-for-profits and the community 

As a result of COVID-19, many patient groups and not-for-profits have seen a decrease in funding support this year, alongside an increased demand for their services. 

To assist patient groups, not-for-profits and the broader community during this time, Roche has welcomed the opportunity to provide a number of our partner organisations with increased financial support to continue to carry out their activities, including: 

  • Lung Foundation Australia: To hold a series of 12 patient webinars focusing on multiple COVID-19 related topics, including mental health, managing isolation, self-care and managing lung disease during the pandemic.
  • Haemophilia Foundation Australia: To develop digital communications tools to provide patient support, health promotion and advocacy, including software to monitor and analyse reach.
  • Lymphoma Australia: To develop and deliver online nurse training modules on different subtypes and treatments for lymphoma.
  • Crohn’s & Colitis Australia: Provision of logistics and operational support to distribute care packs of toilet rolls to patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) across the country, particularly patients in rural and remote areas struggling to access essential items.
  • MS Research Australia: Maintaining our sponsorship of the May 50K fundraising initiative, while adapting our approach to adopt social distancing.
  • Orange Sky, FareShare and Delta Therapy Dogs: Extending our commitment with Roche’s key charitable partners into 2021, in particular to support their COVID-19 initiatives.
     

Further information

To stay informed of developments with COVID-19, or to access important information and resources, please visit: www.health.gov.au.

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Media Contact

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

Jenny Walters +61 407 929243

 

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:

Jane Crowe +61 428 090 948