Pharma provides aid for Pakistan

pharmafile | August 24, 2010 | News story | Sales and Marketing GSK, NGO, Novartis, Pakistan, disaster, pharma, relief 


The pharma industry is providing donations to help those affected by the mass flooding across Pakistan.

As many as 20 million people have been directly affected by the disaster, with that number expected to rise rapidly if diseases spread.

Cholera and diarrhoea are now the two biggest health concerns in the country as the floods contaminate water supplies.

Pharma companies are working alongside Pakistani authorities and aid agencies to try and limit the health problems suffered by the millions of people made homeless by the floods.

GlaxoSmithKline says GSK Pakistan is ‘stepping up its response’ by working with a number of organisations in all flood affected areas to provide shelter, clean water, healthcare and food.

The company has made a contribution of £100,000 (around $150,000) to support agencies that are organising food and medicines distribution, including funds specifically earmarked for the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Red Crescent (IRC) and medicines to the provincial government agencies reaching some of the remotest areas.  

GSK said that there has been ‘huge logistical challenges’, but that GSK Pakistan’s medicines have been among the first to reach many villages marooned by the floods.

The company has donated medicines which are being distributed by a variety of relief aid agencies. The Abaseen Foundation was the first agency to reach 20,000 people in the remote Swat valley, and International Medical Corps (IMC) has mobilised six medical teams to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in the aftermath of the floods. 

GSK says a temporary halt in the rains have allowed people to make their way to the mobile clinics set up by IMC, which have conducted over 6,000 health consultations, treating some of the most pressing cases such as acute diarrhoea, skin disease and acute respiratory infections.    

Another company active in the efforts is Novartis, which has offices in Karachi and a manufacturing facility in Jamshoro, about 150 km from Karachi in Sind province.

A spokesman for Novartis said that its facilities have not as yet been affected and that measures have been taken to ensure the “safety of all associates in Pakistan”.

He also said: “Novartis has provided immediate support to relief efforts with a donation of CHF100,000 to the Swiss Red Cross working in Pakistan and a commitment of $70,000 to a local NGO [non-governmental organisation] in Pakistan.”  

The spokesman added: “We continue to monitor the situation, working closely with our local Novartis organisation, the Pakistani government and local NGOs, and will adapt our efforts as needs evolve.”

Meanwhile Roche is co-ordinating its support for flood victims through its Pakistan affiliate by making direct donations to three local organisations providing disaster assistance.

These organisations include the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (the local member of the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), The Citizens’ Foundation and the Pakistan Medical Association.

Support to the Red Crescent will focus on providing temporary shelter and clothing to those who have lost their homes and all their possessions.
A Roche spokeswoman said aid to The Citizens’ Foundation (TCF) would be directed to food distribution. “TCF has a network across 68 communities in Pakistan to provide food packages and water purifying packs – its goal is to provide 20 million meals over 30 days,” the spokeswoman added.  
Any donations for the flood can be made at the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee at or by telephone on 0370 60 60 900.

Ben Adams

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