HHS, Bayer agree to Cipro purchase

December 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

In response to recent anthrax attacks on the media and the U.S. Senate, U.S. Health and Human Services and West Haven, CT-based Bayer Corp. have reached an agreement for a significant new federal purchase of the antibiotic Cipro™ (ciprofloxacin) at a substantially lowered price. The antibiotic is expected to be available by the end of 2001 and would be used to supplement existing emergency stockpiles for use in the event of a bioterrorist attack.

In response to recent anthrax attacks on the media and the U.S. Senate, U.S. Health and Human Services and West Haven, CT-based Bayer Corp. have reached an agreement for a significant new federal purchase of the antibiotic Cipro™ (ciprofloxacin) at a substantially lowered price. The antibiotic is expected to be available by the end of 2001 and would be used to supplement existing emergency stockpiles for use in the event of a bioterrorist attack.

Under the terms of the $95 million agreement, HHS will pay 95 cents per tablet for a total initial order of 100 million tablets, compared with a previously discounted price of $1.77 per tablet paid by the federal government. Bayer said it will rotate the government's inventory, as part of this agreement, to guarantee the American public a continuously fresh supply of Cipro. This inventory rotation adds an additional value of 30% for the government.

Funds for the purchase are included in the $1.6 billion emergency proposal made by President Bush Oct. 17, which, as of press time, awaits congressional action. Health and Human Services is also carrying out substantial new purchases of other antibiotics that are effective against anthrax, especially doxycycline.

Emergency reserves

The purchases will fulfill HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson's proposal to quickly increase the nation's emergency reserve of antibiotics. Resources to be on hand by January would treat up to 12 million persons immediately for anthrax exposure. Treatment would consist of a mixture of effective antibiotic products, with Cipro representing about 10% of the antibiotics on reserve. Currently, 18.6 million Cipro doses are available in the nation's emergency reserve, which would enable immediate treatment of about 2 million persons in combination with other antibiotics.

"This agreement means that a much larger supply of this important pharmaceutical product will be available if needed," said Secretary Thompson. "The beneficial price also means that we can have more funds available to assist state and local health responders to be ready for all eventualities. I commend the Bayer Corporation for its ongoing efforts to ensure a fully adequate supply of this valuable product."

'An important security measure'

"Bayer is fully committed to supplying America in its war on bioterrorism," said Helge Wehmeier, president of Bayer. "This agreement between Bayer and the Department of Health and Human Services is an important security measure that will enable the nation to have in its stockpile ample supplies of Cipro to combat the threat of anthrax. Cipro has become standard for anthrax treatment. The men and women of Bayer are 100% committed to delivering this vital antibiotic to the U.S. government on schedule."

Secretary Thompson said current supplies of Cipro and other antibiotics that are effective against anthrax "are entirely adequate to meet the current need. This purchase is aimed at expanding our emergency standby capacity, to make us even better prepared for the possibility of massive exposure to anthrax or other biological agents."

As a further contingency, the agreement provides for the option of a second order of 100 million tablets at 85 cents, and a third order at 75 cents, if it is determined that further orders are needed. PR