During 2020, the world as we knew it was turned completely upside down because of the unprecedented global pandemic. At Cipla, COVID-19 also forced us as a business to adapt and implement numerous changes to remain relevant and deliver on our ethos of “Caring for Life”.
- Mental Health
- Caring for our Carers
- Lean on Me
- Access to life-saving medicine
- Treatment Options
- Asthma and COVID-19
- Cipla Foundation and COVID-19
South Africans lean on each other
Following the WHO’s call to take care of one’s mental and psychological well-being during this pandemic, Cipla – supported by 80 well-known SA artists, sports stars, TV presenters and celebrities – recorded a special version of the iconic song, ‘Lean On Me’
Access to life-saving medicine
Cipla through a landmark agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc.1, was granted a license to manufacture and distribute the antiviral medicine, remdesivir, in 127 countries, including South Africa2. As many of these countries are low-income countries and emerging markets that face obstacles in accessing healthcare, Cipla will expand supply to several sub-Saharan African countries.
As part of our ethos of Caring for Life, Cipla always aims to ensure that everyone has access to life-saving medication. In much the same way as Cipla pioneered affordable medication during the height of the HIV crisis about two decades ago and helped to save the lives of millions of people, we’re committed to help find a solution in the fight against COVID-19.
As part of WHO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the R&D Blueprint was activated to accelerate diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for this novel coronavirus. The Blueprint aims to improve coordination between scientists and global health professionals, accelerate the research and development process, and develop new norms and standards to learn from and improve upon the global response.
Managing Asthma amid COVID-19
For people with asthma there’s even greater concern about getting very sick from COVID-19 – a virus which affects the respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs) possibly leading to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease3.
The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) has advised that people with asthma should continue to use their inhaler medication, including corticosteroids as prescribed by a doctor. In acute asthma attacks a short course of oral corticosteroids may be prescribed4. It is imperative also that people with asthma know how to use their inhalers correctly to ensure correct administration of the medication5.
Testing and screening stations
To support the government’s objective of increased testing to help contain the outbreak effectively, the Cipla Foundation in partnership with the Western Cape Government Health Department, rolled out four screening and testing units in the Overberg district. Two screening and testing units are in Grabouw and another two are based in Hermanus.
The Cipla Foundation also distributed protective gear such as masks and hand sanitiser, as well as food parcels to people in under-privileged communities, during lockdown.
- Gilead website: Voluntary Licensing Agreements for Remdesivir. Available at https://www.gilead.com/purpose/advancing-global-health/covid-19/voluntary-licensing-agreements-for-remdesivir
- Cipla website: Cipla enters into a licensing agreement With Gilead to expand access to COVID-19 treatment. Available at: https://www.cipla.com/press-releases-statements/cipla-enters-licensing-agreement-gilead-expand-access-covid-19-treatment
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – People with Moderate to Severe Asthma. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/asthma.html
- Global initiative for asthma – COVID-19: GINA Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on asthma management
- Asthma UK – Using your inhalers. Available at https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/inhalers-medicines-treatments/using-inhalers/