Sanofi, which has headquarters in Bridgewater, said Friday it is donating 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, to 50 countries worldwide and has begun to progressively deliver the medicine to authorities that have requested it.
Both hydroxychloroquine, which Sanofi sells under the brand name Plaquenil, and the related compound chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, are being studied worldwide as potential weapons in the fight against COVID-19.
Sanofi said it has already doubled its incremental production capacity – on top of the usual production for current indications – across its eight hydroxychloroquine manufacturing sites worldwide and is on track to quadruple it by the summer. The company said it will continue to donate the medicine to governments and hospital institutions if ongoing clinical studies demonstrate its efficacy and safety in COVID-19 patients.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health and economic crisis which is shaking some of the very fundamentals of international solidarity and cooperation among countries” said Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson. “This virus does not care about the concept of borders, so we shouldn’t either. It is critical that international authorities, local governments, manufacturers, and all the other players involved in the hydroxychloroquine chain work together in a coordinated manner to ensure all patients who may benefit from this potential treatment can access it. If the trials prove positive, we hope our donation will play a critical role for patients.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Sanofi said it has received a growing number of requests from local governments around the world. The company is regularly evaluating its increasing supply capacity and reassessing how best to help those countries.