Foundation to Support Improving Access to Health for Underserved Populations

TOKYO and NORTHBROOK, Ill. /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503) (President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., "Astellas") announced the launch of the Astellas Global Health Foundation (AGHF), a new international philanthropic organization dedicated to improving access to health in underserved global communities. Key areas of focus for the AGHF initially will be neglected tropical and communicable diseases, children's health and mental health in low-income communities and low-and middle-income countries where Astellas, a company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world, does not have a commercial presence. Additionally, AGHF will fund programs that build healthier communities and provide disaster preparedness and relief in these same geographies.

The Astellas Global Health Foundation merges three former philanthropic entities – the Astellas USA Foundation (AUSF), the Astellas European Foundation (AEF), and the Astellas Asia-Oceania Foundation (AAOF) – into one organization.

The goal is to support some of the world's most vulnerable populations in areas with high child mortality rates, low life expectancies, and insufficient access to health. Since 2005, the three foundations have contributed nearly $25 million to charities and partners aligned with each foundation's focus areas.

"The World Bank and World Health Organization reported last year that half the world's population lacks access to essential health services," said Moyra Knight, president of the Astellas Global Health Foundation. "The Astellas Global Health Foundation's focus on increasing access to health will contribute toward making a sustainable impact on the health of people around the world."

Access to health remains a significant challenge for underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries. A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine calls for urgent, comprehensive efforts to address what it calls the "global quality chasm" in healthcare worldwide. The report finds up to eight million deaths occur annually in low- and middle-income countries due to poor-quality healthcare.i 

In its first year, the Astellas Global Health Foundation will send a request for proposal to eligible organizations that primarily focus on strengthening health infrastructure and enhancing the availability and accessibility of quality healthcare with a focus on three key areas in low-and middle-income communities:

  • Children's health: The Foundation seeks to address high child mortality rates by supporting programs that, for example, improve access to preventative measures such as medicines, nutrition or vaccines for children in need;
  • Mental health: The Foundation seeks to improve access to mental health diagnosis and treatment, especially in individuals experiencing life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and heart disease;
  • Neglected tropical and communicable diseases: The Foundation will support programs that improve access to health for major communicable diseases and neglected tropical diseases in support of the WHO goals for control, elimination and eradication.

Grants that were made to organizations prior to the formation of the Astellas Global Health Foundation will be honored through the term of the commitments.


About The Astellas Global Health Foundation
The Astellas Global Health Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation that awards grants to support charitable purposes with a focus on improving access to health in underserved global communities in order to make a sustainable impact on the health of people around the world. To learn more about the Astellas Global Health Foundation please visit www.astellasglobalhealthfoundation.org.

Cautionary Notes
In this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management's current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas' intellectual property rights by third parties.

Information about pharmaceutical products (including products currently in development) which is included in this press release is not intended to constitute an advertisement or medical advice.

i National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Up to 8 Million Deaths Occur in Low- and Middle-Income Countries Yearly Due to Poor-Quality Health Care, Says New Report; Major Quality Chasm Must Be Fixed in Order to Reap Benefits of Universal Health Coverage. http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=25152&_ga=2.34323233.1893422204.1537240744-1774799898.1537240744. Last accessed Sept. 20, 2018.