AstraZeneca Australia & New Zealand response to the COVID-19 pandemic
AstraZeneca is responding to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak, consistent with our values to follow the science, put patients first and do the right thing. Our priorities are to ensure the continued supply of our medicines to patients, and to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all our employees and communities.
There are many areas that will be affected during this period that we wish to keep you updated on:
1. Return to workplace
2. Supply of medicines to patients
3. Support from AstraZeneca
4. Clinical trials
5. Our Manufacturing Site in North Ryde
6. New Zealand specific information
7. Our global & local response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Return to workplace
With Federal and State governments ease restrictions across Australia and New Zealand, AstraZeneca has commenced a phased plan to return staff to the workplace, for both office and field-based staff. This plan keeps our employees’ and customers’ safety and wellbeing paramount, incorporating government guidance and best practice learnings on physical distancing and hygiene measures. For our in-field staff, virtual interactions will continue, however, face-to-face meetings may be permitted where the clinic or institution agrees.
Supply of medicines
Our medicines supply chain is robust, and we continue to monitor the situation closely ensuring we put the needs of patients first and minimise any potential disruption. We have experienced higher than expected demand in March and April across some of our medicines. However, with regular supply coming in and with the normalising of demand to pre COVID levels, we have been able to resume regular supply to the market for all of AstraZeneca’s medicines.
We reinforce the message from health authorities, the Australian Federal Government and the New Zealand Government, around stockpiling of medicines, and encourage patients not to purchase more medicines than they need. Similarly, we urge healthcare professionals to reassure patients that there is no need to buy more than is necessary. The supply of essential medicines to Australians is robust and the industry is working with government to ensure measures are put in place to minimise any potential for shortages.
For specific product shortage information see the links below:
https://apps.tga.gov.au/Prod/msi/search?shortagetype=All or for any new information on COVID-19 visit https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
Support from AstraZeneca
At AstraZeneca it is our goal to be a valued partner for Healthcare Professionals and Healthcare Organisations. During the COVID-19 pandemic we understand the additional pressures placed on you, our frontline care workers, and the need for greater support from industry. That is why we have made some changes to the way we operate to do our part to support during this challenging time. This includes suspending our sales and medical teams from engaging with Healthcare Professionals face-to-face. Our teams can support you virtually with access to all our resources for HCPs and patients.
Patient support programs will continue, and in some cases we have made enhancements to support remote access. The AccessOncology team is committed to ensuring the ongoing and timely supply of medicines for all our compassionate access programs, and can be contacted via telephone: 1800 531 530, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also providing Healthcare Professionals access to global webcasts on COVID-19 where leading experts from China and Europe share and discuss the latest scientific insights regarding COVID-19 development.
Should any Healthcare Professional wish to get in contact with AZ, please contact your AZ representative, AZ Health https://www.azhealth.com.au/, via telephone: 1800 805 342, Fax: +61 9856 8500 (Australia), 09 306 5650 (New Zealand) or our website: https://www.astrazeneca.com.au/contact-us.html.
AstraZeneca will work with Healthcare Organisations, Medicines Australia and Medicines New Zealand to keep abreast of HCO challenges and identifying ways to support them.
As a science-led biopharmaceutical company, our clinical research is crucial to the development of innovative new medicines. We are committed and continue to partner with our research doctors and their teams across Australia and New Zealand to maintain our clinical trials during this time ensuring the ongoing treatment and safety of trial patients.
Our Manufacturing Site in North Ryde
For more than 60 years AstraZeneca has been manufacturing and exporting medicines from our specialised sterile manufacturing site at North Ryde.
Our manufacturing site is deemed an Essential Service under the NSW Essential Services Act 1988, and the production, release and supply of medicines from the North Ryde site continues to meet manufacturing expectations.
To protect the wellbeing of our employees we have implemented additional controls to minimise risks, and to ensure that we enable onsite employees to continue working to deliver our medicines to our patients.
New Zealand specific information
In New Zealand, the government has announced the country moves into Alert Level 2 effective Thursday 14 May, with schools gradually re-opening from 18 May. NZ citizens are being warned against complacency and being asked to maintain vigilance in social distancing.
All AstraZeneca products continue to be available through our usual channels. If you need to access health care during this time, please call your usual General Practitioner to arrange a consultation, which may be over the phone or via Videoconference. Retail Pharmacies continue to be open to meet patient’s prescription requirements, although some may have different trading hours. Please call your Pharmacy if you need to access prescriptions. For more information please visit https://covid19.govt.nz/
The Ministry of Health NZ announced on 26 March 2020 that all prescriptions medicines will only be dispensed on a monthly basis as of midnight that night, to reduce stockpiling and ensure supply for all patients https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/news/pharmac-places-temporary-dispensing-limits-on-all-funded-community-medicines/
For any AstraZeneca product queries, please call 09 306 5650 for Medical Information or general product queries.
Our global & local response to the COVID-19 pandemic
AstraZeneca is donating nine million face masks to support healthcare workers around the world as they respond to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) global pandemic. AstraZeneca has partnered with the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform, created with the support of the World Health Organisation, to identify countries in greatest need. In addition to these donations, AstraZeneca is accelerating the development of its diagnostic testing capabilities to scale-up screening and is also working in partnership with governments on existing screening programmes to supplement testing.
We have also partnered with the University of Oxford to develop, manufacture and distribute their vaccine candidate for COVID-19.
AstraZeneca is engaging with international health authorities and governments in response to the outbreak. We have provided our science and technology expertise to authorities including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).
AstraZeneca’s Research and Development (R&D) teams have been working expeditiously to identify monoclonal antibodies to progress towards clinical trial evaluation as a treatment for symptoms of COVID-19. More than 50 virology, immunology, respiratory, and protein engineering experts across research, clinical, regulatory, and manufacturing are placing the highest priority on developing a treatment to minimise the global impact of the disease. Locally, we are leveraging our supply chain contacts to connect Australian Government agencies to manufacturers in China to secure vital supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and medicines that are required urgently.
1 June 2020; AU-8212