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Richter takes steps to ensure supply, protect staff

Pharmaceutical company Gedeon Richter took a number of steps to ensure a sustainable supply of reliable treatment for patients and protect its own employees, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

The steps, focusing on protecting employees and reducing the risk of any potential contagion, were taken in light of the recommendations made and measures taken by the government.

Richter introduced a more focused operating management of its procurement chains and so far, the company has managed to avoid to date any shortage of raw materials and other supplies.

"We are proud that we were able to ensure on all of our markets the timely delivery of all of our products. We cannot exclude, however that in parallel with a deepening of the crisis, additional costs may arise in the future given the sustained difficulties experienced in the procurement of raw materials and the transportation of both raw materials and finished products," Richter says.

The pharmaceutical company has also redirected in-person promotional activities to online channels to reduce physical contact.

First measures on March 5

Richter introduced the first measures on March 5, the day after the first two cases of COVID-19 were officially announced by Hungarian authorities.

Precautionary measures as described by WHO guidelines were emailed to employees and posted in social areas, the sanitizing of which began immediately.

Temporary travel bans were introduced to areas affected by the epidemic at that date. The travel prohibitions were expanded as the international developments required, in accordance with changes applied to Hungarian border regulations.

Measures required to achieve social distancing were applied to all social areas and employees who could fulfil their jobs by remote access were encouraged to work remotely.

Those at work were given face masks and sanitizers were placed in all social areas of Richter.

Home office work was extended to minimize in-house contacts. Richter offers employees who are required to come to work per diem travel allowances in order to encourage the usage of private vehicles rather than public transportation.

Furthermore, the company gives offers psychological support and tips to line managers and employees to manage remote work and to tackle the COVID-19 situation.

Richter also made a donation through its own Wellbeing Foundation to support families in need. Richter HR also organized a blood donation to support the Hungarian Blood Bank.

Donations to those in need

Responding immediately to a request from the Hungarian affiliate of UNICEF, Richter donated IT equipment to families in need of equipment to cope with the public education system switching into remote mode.

The company has been organizing a nationwide screening and health education program for 10 years, in the framework of which it also provides donations to Hungarian health institutions. Richterʼs management has decided to support all former participants (70 hospitals and clinics) of the Health City program with an additional donation of HUF 2 million each. Members of Richter’s Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board offered their one-month compensation, totalling HUF 6 mln, to the Hungarian National Ambulance Service (OMSZ).

In Italy, the company provided financial support to Italian central pandemic hospitals via its local subsidiary based in Milan. In Poland, the manufacturing subsidiary Gedeon Richter Polska gave substantial financial assistance to the local Western Hospital in Grodzisk Mazowiecki to provide first-line equipment securing both physicians and patients. In Romania, Richter offered financial aid to various healthcare facilities to procure personal protection equipment and testing capacities.