You are here:

Tools Content :


Press Releases

Call for Common Action to Fight the Influenza Pandemic

Christopher A. Viehbacher Reaffirmed Sanofi-aventis’ Commitment to Access to Health during the Pacific Health Summit in Seattle

Sanofi-aventis Intends to Donate 100 Million Doses of Influenza Vaccine to WHO to Face the Pandemic

Jun 17, 2009

Paris, France, June 17, 2009 – During today’s opening session of the Pacific Health Summit, which was held in Seattle, Washington, Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of sanofi-aventis, declared: “I want to back Director-General of WHO’s call for common action to fight the influenza pandemic. This is our collective responsibility, as companies, as an industry, as national health authorities, as NGOs, as Foundations, to pool our collective strengths as well as our dedication and our motivation to find solutions that are affordable for every patient throughout the world.”


“Exceptional times request exceptional responses. We need to act responsibly, and we all have to play our part. That is the reason why we intend to donate 100 million doses of influenza vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) to help developing countries face the influenza pandemic”, Christopher A. Viehbacher added.


This donation is tailored to respond to the 2009 influenza pandemic due to the emergence of the novel A(H1N1) influenza strain and includes a previous commitment made by the company in 2008 in the context of the A(H5N1) pandemic threat.


“The emerging A(H1N1) and A(H5N1) influenza viruses are currently present in many countries including some of the poorest regions of the world. This flexible donation aims to help the WHO address the needs of these most vulnerable populations,” said Christopher A. Viehbacher.

Once production of A(H1N1) vaccine begins, Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of sanofi-aventis Group, will reserve 10 percent of its output for the WHO as a donation to help address the influenza pandemic in developing countries. In the event that Sanofi Pasteur’s manufacturing facilities become fully committed to the production of pandemic vaccine, the company will also supply this vaccine under a tiered-pricing policy for developing countries.


“Becoming a global healthcare leader, and not just a pharmaceutical company focused on the US and Europe is the heart of sanofi-aventis strategy”, said Christopher A. Viehbacher. “The future of our industry is linked to the healthcare solutions that will be found for emerging countries. In addition to supporting the efforts of governments, we are working with international organizations such as WHO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other global health players. By pooling our collective strengths as well as our dedication and our motivation, we can save millions of lives.”


About sanofi-aventis’ Access to Health policy

To provide people in developing and emerging countries with sustainable access to medicines, and vaccines, sanofi-aventis has developed an innovative approach in programs linked to our areas of expertise.


Today, a majority of the world’s population still has no access to medicines and vaccines. In line with our mission of improving patients’ lives wherever this is possible, sanofi-aventis is committed to partnerships with other healthcare professionals with the aim of improving access to medicines in developing and emerging countries.


Through a dedicated Access to Medicines team, sanofi-aventis implements resources and expertise to ensure sustainable access to medicines. We apply a new approach which combines humanitarian concerns and economic viability.


This approach includes four objectives: Ensuring that medicines are affordable through the application of a tiered pricing policy; Providing answers to future medical needs through our Research and Development; Sharing industrial expertise with countries in the Southern hemisphere; Developing related services that are both adapted to local situations and, in addition to medicines, contribute to global disease management.


The sanofi-aventis Access to Medicines programs focus on five areas where we have developed particular expertise: Malaria, Tuberculosis, Neglected Tropical diseases (Human African Trypanosomiasis or "sleeping sickness" and Leishmaniases), Chronic Diseases (Epilepsy and mental illness), as well as access to Vaccines.


About Influenza Vaccine Production

Sanofi Pasteur operates influenza vaccine production facilities in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania, United States, and Val de Reuil, France. All Sanofi Pasteur influenza vaccine facilities have been designed and built to be able to convert from seasonal influenza vaccine production to pandemic influenza vaccine production.


In Swiftwater, Sanofi Pasteur has two licensed influenza production facilities. On May 6, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed Sanofi Pasteur’s new influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in Swiftwater. When operating at full capacity, the new facility will have a capacity of approximately 100 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine per year. An existing facility in Swiftwater is capable of producing 50 million doses per year and currently is producing vaccine for the 2009/2010 season. In total, the company will have a capacity equivalent to approximately 150 million doses of trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine per year in the United States when both facilities are operating at full capacity. The A(H1N1) production can occur in both Swiftwater facilities.


In Val de Reuil, Sanofi Pasteur is currently producing the trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine for the 2009/2010 season, with the capacity of 120 million doses per year. Sanofi Pasteur’s production facility in Val de Reuil is also capable of producing the new A(H1N1) vaccine.

Sanofi Pasteur produces approximately 40 percent of the influenza vaccines distributed worldwide and in the United States produced more than 45 percent of the influenza vaccines distributed for the 2008/2009 influenza season. The company also has developed the first and only U.S.-licensed avian influenza vaccine for humans.


Sanofi Pasteur’s response to the novel A(H1N1) influenza strain is to maintain flexibility in its influenza vaccine production. The company will continue to manufacture its seasonal influenza vaccine for the 2009/2010 Northern Hemisphere influenza season as recommended by the WHO. Production of seasonal influenza both for Northern and Southern hemispheres is still a priority as seasonal influenza is a very serious illness causing 250,000 to 500,000 deaths per year.

More information about Sanofi Pasteur’s pandemic preparedness efforts can be found at:


About sanofi-aventis

Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).


Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives, intentions and expectations with respect to future events, operations, products and services, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “plans” and similar expressions. Although sanofi- aventis’ management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of sanofi-aventis, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by sanofi-aventis, including those listed under “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” in sanofiaventis’ annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2008. Other than as required by applicable law, sanofi-aventis does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements.