Allergan plc and Medicines360, a nonprofit women’s health pharmaceutical company with a mission of expanding access to quality medicines, announced that they will donate 10,000 units of their hormonal IUD, LILETTA (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 52 mg, to the CDC Foundation.
In addition, Allergan will donate over 40,000 one-month cycle packs of oral contraceptives. The contributions are in response to the outbreak of the Zika virus and are designed to help reduce unintended pregnancies in Puerto Rico, while the risk of the Zika virus is prevalent. Research has shown that pregnant women infected with the Zika virus are at risk of giving birth to infants born with microcephaly, a condition where babies’ heads and brains are smaller and may not have developed properly during pregnancy.
Following this initial donation, Allergan will continue to partner with the CDC Foundation to assess the need for additional oral contraceptive supplies in this important Zika response.
“There is a clear and immediate need for effective, contraceptive options in Puerto Rico and communities throughout the world to give women the option to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancies while the risk of the Zika virus is high,” said Gavin Corcoran, chief medical officer at Allergan. “Women in Puerto Rico urgently need contraceptives to help prevent unplanned pregnancies and postpone pregnancies and the donation of LILETTA and oral contraceptives is intended to meet these women’s needs.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the causal link between Zika and microcephaly in April 2016. Approximately 138,000 women in Puerto Rico are at risk of unintended pregnancy and do not use one of the most effective or moderately effective forms of contraception. An effective strategy to reduce Zika-related pregnancy complications is to prevent pregnancy in couples who want to delay or avoid pregnancy during a Zika outbreak.
“Medicines360’s mission is to expand access to quality medicines for all women regardless of their socioeconomic status, insurance coverage or geographic location,” said Jessica Grossman, MD, CEO of Medicines360. “We wanted to do our part to respond to this emergency now. Our donation helps these communities have access to safe and effective IUDs. Most importantly, LILETTA offers a long-term sustainable solution for public health clinics to continue to access a hormonal IUD at a $50 price after the crisis.”
In Puerto Rico, 20 percent of the population is predicted to be infected by the Zika virus by the end of the year. LILETTA is a hormone-releasing system placed in a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy for up to three years and is more than 99 percent effective. LILETTA is reversible and can be removed at any time by a healthcare provider. LILETTA and oral contraceptives do not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (including Zika virus).