• New Delhi
  • 7 November 2013
  • Features
  • By Sameer Savkur, managing director, Biogen Idec

'We are at the forefront of CSR worldwide'

In this contributory column on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, Mr Sameer Savkur, managing director, Biogen Idec, India, has explained his company's contribution in India as well as at the global level


Mr Sameer Savkur, managing director, Biogen Idec, India

Biogen Idec is committed to discover, develop and deliver innovative therapies that improve the lives of patients with neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune diseases and hemophilia. Founded in 1978, it is the world's oldest independent biotechnology company and a fortune 500 company providing multiple sclerosis therapies to patients in 90 countries across the world.

The commitment to improve patients' lives goes beyond the treatments, the foundation work hard to support patients and their caregivers with a range of best-in-class services. For example, they have created a number of patient assistance programs in various countries to help with the informational, emotional, access and logistic considerations, that are part of living with multiple sclerosis. Access to therapy remains a significant challenge for Indian patients; the foundation have introduced free therapy access support for patients based on their ability to pay. The support is customised with the intention that the neediest gets the maximum benefit. The company has also been happy to see that this initiative has impact many patients who otherwise would have been deprived of their therapy for multiple sclerosis.

In 2012, Biogen Idec worldwide contributed $349 million in financial support to patients through the free drug program, copay assistance and charitable donations. They were also provided more than $2 million to support fellowships and independent medical education programs. Additionally, the Biogen Idec foundation awarded grants totalling $1.6 million to support a variety of educational and community-based initiatives.

At Biogen Idec, they have been supporting various platforms and initiative which are aimed at supporting patients or research groups to fight rare diseases. In 2012, the foundation supported patient advocacy organizations around the world, including multiple sclerosis organizations in Argentina, Australia, Japan, Canada, India and the United States. Biogen has also supported key umbrella organizations such as the International Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, the European Multiple Sclerosis platform, the rare disease organization EURORDIS, the Chronic Disease Fund, the National Hemophilia Foundation, the ALS Association and ALS Canada, and members of the MS Coalition (accelerated cure project for multiple Sclerosis, Can Do MS, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis nurses, Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, United Spinal Association), Multiple Sclerosis World, as well as various academic institutions.

Biogen Idec started the ‘Care Deeply Day' initiative in 2011-2012, and more than 1,600 employees embarked on Care Deeply Day initiatives as volunteers, participating in more than 80 projects in 22 countries around the world. The Care Deeply Day in India encompassed three initiatives designed to give back to the community in various ways. Employees took the day off to focus on volunteer efforts that would make a measurable impact on the lives of others. The foundation participated in ‘Donate for a Smile', to provide much-needed supplies such as clothes, accessories and other items for people affected by the devastating Assam floods; Akshaya Patra, an online fundraising drive that provided 80 sponsored children with a year's worth of mid-day meals; and Day of Service, in which a team visited the Khushboo welfare society to clean the grounds and spend time with the children.


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