COLLEGEVILLE, Pennsylvania, September 15 /PRNewswire/ --
- First African Nation Plans to Phase in Routine Vaccination Program Against Pneumococcal Disease for Infants and Young Children -
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth (NYSE: WYE), today announced that South Africa has initiated an immunization program against pneumococcal disease with PREVENAR(R) (Pneumococcal Saccharide Conjugated Vaccine, Adsorbed), a vaccine which helps protect infants and young children against the seven vaccine serotypes causing the majority of pneumococcal disease worldwide. The South African government launched the pneumococcal disease immunization program in the Eastern Cape district of Ukhahlamba last week and has plans to expand the program nationwide by the end of March 2009.
This historic initiative will support the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce child mortality in children younger than five years of age. Including South Africa, there are now 27 countries that have included PREVENAR in their national immunization programs.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumococcal disease causes nearly 1.6 million deaths in children each year and is the leading vaccine-preventable cause of death in children younger than five years of age worldwide.
"South Africa's decision to introduce PREVENAR into the national childhood immunization schedule will bring this potentially life-saving vaccine to children in need," says Joseph Mahady, President, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. "Given the documented public health benefits that have been seen in other regions where PREVENAR is routinely used, this announcement holds great promise for the more than one million children born every year in South Africa."
Given the significant burden of pneumococcal disease and the demonstrated vaccine efficacy, in March 2007, WHO recommended priority inclusion of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in national childhood immunization programs worldwide. Recently, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) to WHO issued a preliminary recommendation that pneumococcal disease prevention be ranked as a very high priority on a global basis.
PREVENAR(R), the only licensed pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, is now available in 88 countries around the world, with more than 180 million doses distributed.
Pneumococcal disease affects both children and adults and is a leading cause of illness and death worldwide. Pneumococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and describes a group of illnesses, including invasive infections, such as bacteremia/sepsis and meningitis, as well as pneumonia and upper respiratory tract infections, including otitis media.
Important Safety Information for PREVENAR*
In clinical studies (n=18,168), the most frequently reported adverse events included injection site reactions, fever (>38 degrees C/100.4 degrees F), irritability, drowsiness, restless sleep, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash. Risks are associated with all vaccines, including PREVENAR(R). Hypersensitivity to any vaccine component, including diphtheria toxoid, is a contraindication to its use. PREVENAR does not provide 100 percent protection against vaccine serotypes or protect against nonvaccine serotypes.
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth, has leading products in the areas of women's health care, infectious disease, gastrointestinal health, central nervous system, inflammation, transplantation, hemophilia, oncology, vaccines and nutritional products.
Wyeth is one of the world's largest research-driven pharmaceutical and health care products companies. It is a leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotechnology products, nutritionals and non-prescription medicines that improve the quality of life for people worldwide. The Company's major divisions include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare and Fort Dodge Animal Health.
The statements in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, the inherent uncertainty of the timing and success of, and expense associated with, research, development, regulatory approval and commercialization of our products and pipeline products; government cost-containment initiatives; restrictions on third-party payments for our products; substantial competition in our industry, including from branded and generic products; emerging data on our products and pipeline products; the importance of strong performance from our principal products and our anticipated new product introductions; the highly regulated nature of our business; product liability, intellectual property and other litigation risks and environmental liabilities; uncertainty regarding our intellectual property rights and those of others; difficulties associated with, and regulatory compliance with respect to, manufacturing of our products; risks associated with our strategic relationships; economic conditions including interest and currency exchange rate fluctuations; changes in generally accepted accounting principles; trade buying patterns; the impact of legislation and regulatory compliance; risks and uncertainties associated with global operations and sales; and other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in our periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our current reports on Form 8-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and annual report on Form 10-K, particularly the discussion under the caption "Item 1A, RISK FACTORS" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 29, 2008. The forward-looking statements in this press release are qualified by these risk factors. We assume no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
Web site: http://www.wyeth.com
Media: Lili Gordon of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, +1-484-865-6671, or Douglas Petkus of Wyeth, +1-973-660-5218; or Investors: Justin Victoria of Wyeth, +1-973-660-5340