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Baxter Supports New Advocacy in Action Initiative to Assist People Living with Bleeding Disorders to Achieve and Maintain Access to Care

Fri, 04/15/2011 - 4:22am
Baxter Healthcare

DEERFIELD, Ill., April 13, 2011 - In recognition of World Hemophilia Day 2011, Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) today reaffirmed its commitment to improve access to treatment and to protect the standard of care for people living with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. Baxter is supporting the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) to launch Advocacy in Action, an innovative, 5-year initiative to help countries advocate for improved and sustained care for people with bleeding disorders. The initiative is exclusively supported by a grant from Baxter. Additionally, Advocacy in Action directly ties to this year's WFH theme for World Hemophilia Day, "Be Inspired, Get Involved in Treatment for All," which focuses on supporting positive change for people with bleeding disorders.

Thanks to treatment advances, the overall life expectancy for hemophilia patients in many parts of the developed world has increased to more than 60 years.1-3 However, significant disparities still exist -- 75 percent of patients worldwide still do not have access to appropriate care.3

"Around the world today there is tremendous disparity in care for those living with bleeding disorders - from diagnosis to treatment access to overall life expectancy. Our mission is to ensure that all patients have sustained access to proper diagnosis and treatment," said Mark Skinner, president, World Federation of Hemophilia. "The innovative Advocacy in Action initiative aims to accomplish this vision and will produce positive outcomes around the world as we advance toward our vision of Treatment for All."

Building on the foundation of the successful WFH regional advocacy initiatives facilitated from 2006 through 2010, Advocacy in Action works to strengthen WFH's national member organizations' (NMOs) capacity to effectively lobby their governments on behalf of their regional and national bleeding disorder communities. The initiative consists of tailored, theme-based advocacy support, including interactive workshops, support tools, an individualized coaching program and a dedicated WFH staff member to assist with the implementation of advocacy and public policy action plans.

In addition to supporting WFH on the new advocacy initiative, Baxter continues to support a multi-year commitment to the WFH's 10-year Global Alliance for Progress (GAP) program as the founding and leading sponsor. Since the program's initiation in 2003, more than 22,000 patients have been diagnosed with bleeding disorders (approximately 19,000 with hemophilia) in 16 countries, and more than 13,000 health care professionals, regulators and hemophilia team members have been educated and trained.

Through its humanitarian aid partners, the WFH and AmeriCares, Baxter has reached those living with hemophilia in underserved countries with much needed factor replacement therapy donations over the past several years, of which the total market value is approximately $14 million.

"Baxter is committed to supporting the global hemophilia community through efforts that can help to improve and protect patient access to treatment and care, ultimately providing better patient outcomes," said Bruce Ewenstein, M.D., Ph.D., vice president, Clinical Affairs in Baxter's BioScience business.

Baxter also continues to invest in the research and development of new therapies to treat hemophilia A and B and von Willebrand disease. Numerous preclinical, clinical and post-marketing trials are underway to look at multiple approaches to the management of hemophilia as Baxter investigates new therapies and enhancements to existing therapies to shift the treatment paradigm to individualized care. For more information, visit www.baxterhemophilia.com.

About World Hemophilia Day

World Hemophilia Day occurs each year on April 17. Since its creation in 1989, in honor of the World Federation of Hemophilia's founder, Frank Schnabel, World Hemophilia Day has served as an opportunity to increase awareness of hemophilia and other bleeding disorders and their impact on the global community.

About Hemophilia A & B

Hemophilia is a rare genetic blood clotting disorder that primarily affects males.4   People living with hemophilia do not have enough of, or are missing, one of the blood clotting proteins naturally found in blood.4 Two of the most common forms of hemophilia are A and B.4  In people with hemophilia A, clotting factor VIII is not present in sufficient amounts or is absent.3  Without enough FVIII, people with hemophilia can experience spontaneous, uncontrolled internal bleeding that is painful, debilitating, damaging to joints and potentially fatal.4  People with hemophilia B (also called Christmas disease) do not have sufficient amounts of clotting factor IX.4  In about 30 percent of cases, there is no family history of hemophilia and the condition is the result of a spontaneous gene mutation.4  According to the World Federation of Hemophilia, more than 400,000 people in the world have hemophilia.4  All races and economic groups are affected equally.4

About von Willebrand Disease5

Von Willebrand disease is the most common type of bleeding disorder and affects both males and females. Patients with von Willebrand disease either produce insufficient von Willebrand factor or carry defective von Willebrand factor and may experience problems with forming clots to stop bleeding. It is estimated that up to one percent of the world's population suffers from von Willebrand disease, but because many people have only mild symptoms, only a small number of them may know they have it. Research has suggested that as many as nine out of 10 people with von Willebrand disease have not been diagnosed.

About Baxter International Inc.

Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, cancer, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide.

1. Darby SC, et al. Mortality rates, life expectancy, and causes of death in people with hemophilia A or B in the United Kingdom who were not infected with HIV. Blood. 2007;110[3]: 815-825.

2. Soucie JM et al.  Mortality among males with hemophilia: relations with source of medical care.  Blood 2000; 96 (2):  437-442.

3. Frequently Asked Questions About Hemophilia. World Federation of Hemophilia. Accessed on: 18 February 2010. Available at: http://www.wfh.org/2/1/1_1_1_FAQ.htm.

4.  What is Hemophilia? World Federation of Hemophilia. Accessed on: 18 February 2010. Available at: www.wfh.org/2/1/1_1_Hemophilia.htm.

5. What is Von Willebrand Disease? World Federation of Hemophilia. Accessed on: 1 March 2010. Available at: http://www.wfh.org/2/1/1_2_VWD_What-is-VWD.htm.

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