These are extraordinary times, unprecedented in recent history.
We, at Roche UK, are proud of our heritage in advancing science to improve people’s lives. This has never been more important.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our goal has been to do everything we can to minimise its impact on those affected and the brilliant people who work tirelessly to treat and care for them.
Roche UK is proud to play a vital role in responding to the pandemic, working closely with our partners within healthcare, academia, government, patient groups and industry.
Diagnostic testing for COVID-19
Roche has supplied the NHS, and customers across the UK and Ireland, with COVID-19 tests to help identify patients who have, or have had, novel coronavirus. We have worked closely with our partners in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland to support the scale up clinical testing for COVID-19 across the country.
Reliable and accurate testing is a critical part of our response to this unprecedented global healthcare emergency. Since March 2020, Roche Diagnostics has developed a broad portfolio of diagnostic tests, at unparalleled speed. We are proud that these tests are being used in settings across the country to identify those who are infected, support the vaccination programme, and to increase our knowledge and understanding of this virus.
Investigating treatment options
While there are currently no approved treatment options for the treatment of COVID-19, we are actively involved in understanding the potential of our existing portfolio.
As part of this, earlier this year Roche announced the initiation of COVACTA, a global Phase III clinical trial that was approved by the FDA and MHRA to evaluate the safety and efficacy of one of our medicines plus standard of care in hospitalised adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. This was the first global study in this setting and there were eight UK sites participating in the study. Separately we are currently also taking part in the world’s biggest pandemic study, RECOVERY, looking at whether existing medicines can be used to combat Covid-19, and REMAP-CAP, a second Government-endorsed study.
In parallel to our participation in this trial, we have also been in dialogue with the MHRA and the NHS (across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) to understand their strategy for dealing with the pandemic. We hope that by working closely together we can support them in a way which offers the best outcomes for patients and relieves pressure on the NHS, Government and frontline healthcare workers.
Diabetes Care offering support to the health system
In a bid to mitigate pressures on hospitals and clinicians, Roche Diabetes Care has extended all warranties for insulin pumps that were due to expire before the end of June, initially for three months. This warranty extension frees up the time of healthcare professionals and allows people with diabetes to make a decision about a new pump at a more appropriate time.
People with diabetes are now being given free access to the Pro version of Roche's popular diabetes management app. mySugr Pro. This will help improve the experience of digital and/or telephone appointments for people with diabetes by making it possible to share blood glucose monitoring information remotely very simply. Normally priced at £20.99 per year, the free offer will be in place until October and gives the user access for 12 months.
Helping the NHS overcome new challenges
The pandemic has had a huge impact on the UK health system, redirecting priorities and resources. We have been working across the board to see where we can help the NHS overcome these new challenges.
One area has been to ensure our products continue to reach those who need them. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, preparing for the Brexit end of transition and experiencing unprecedented demand of our diagnostic products and services, Roche UK has continued to supply the NHS at full capacity. We have worked to ensure we hold increased inventory of our products in the UK as a matter of course, where possible. Our global manufacturing network has robust plans for dealing with the impact of potential health and other global crises.
Some delays and disruptions have arisen, however, due to changes in demand for certain therapies, current transportation and travel restrictions, and workforce capacity limitations in highly impacted COVID-19 locations. Roche is working with high priority and urgency to mitigate against future supply disruptions.
At present, we are not experiencing any major disruption to our supply chain. We are continuing to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to monitor the situation and will take appropriate action as and when is necessary.
Since early March, everyone at Roche has been working remotely where possible. Like everyone, this has meant coming to terms with new routines, family situations and other anxieties. Here our goal is to allow our people to adjust to this new situation and prioritise their emotional and family wellbeing.
We can also confirm that we are not placing anyone under furlough and will not be changing anybody’s pay and conditions as a result of COVID-19.
Our people are both highly skilled and passionate about helping others during this time. That is why we are supporting employees to undertake voluntary work to give our partners, the health service and local communities the urgent help they need.
- Volunteering: We are supporting all our colleagues who wish to volunteer throughout the pandemic. While we continue to support the healthcare system in our daily work, where possible our medically trained employees have also returned to the NHS front line.
- Customers: We are reaching out to those we work with to see what we can do to help during this period.
- Charity partners: Each year our employees vote for charities to support throughout the year. We are continuing to raise money for those charities such as Action for Children and the East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust as well as continuing our work to champion STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) through our ambassador programme.