Today, Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) will join with the multiple sclerosis (MS) community around the world to celebrate the Fourth Annual World MS Day by hosting diverse educational activities across the globe. Created and led by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF), World MS Day is a global campaign to raise awareness of MS. Every year, the MS movement comes together to provide the public with information about MS and how it affects the lives of more than 2 million people around the world.
"We have partnered with the global MS community for almost 20 years to raise awareness of this debilitating disease and we feel a deep responsibility to spotlight the needs of the community," said John Richert, M.D., vice president, global medical affairs, Biogen Idec. "At Biogen Idec, our philosophy is patients first and we have an unwavering commitment to MS."
This year's theme for World MS Day focuses on the 1000 Faces of MS, putting people with MS at the heart of the day. The MSIF created 1000 Faces of MS, bringing together stories, messages and support for people living with and affected by MS, providing an opportunity to be a part of the global movement of people working to raise awareness of the disease.
"World MS Day, now in its fourth year, is the world's only global awareness raising campaign for MS. The need for the campaign still remains: awareness and understanding of MS is still low, and many people living with MS report a lack of understanding at work, and in their communities," said Peer Baneke, CEO of the MSIF. "Raising awareness is crucial to ensure that positive developments can be made in policy, funding and research. This vital work could not be achieved without our global network of MS organizations, volunteers and donors. We thank Biogen Idec for their support this year."
In recognition of World MS Day, Biogen Idec and its local affiliates are supporting a wide range of activities across the globe. Highlights include:
- Finland: Launching an MS awareness campaign, in cooperation with the local MS advocacy organization and other pharmaceutical companies. The company is also sponsoring a charity walk for health care providers
- France: Hosting Maison De La Sep (House of MS), where MS patients will be able to receive information on MS, take part in social activities, and meet with medical specialists in seven cities
- India: Conducting a local MS awareness campaign in nine cities across the country
- Japan: Sponsoring "Messages to Those Who Support My Dreams," an essay competition to collect stories from people living with MS about their dreams and appreciation of their friends and loved ones who support them. The company will also distribute information about MS to the public to raise awareness of the disease
- The Netherlands: Launching the "dreaMS" contest with a local MS advocacy organization to collect stories of hope from people living with MS. Winners will receive an award to help make their dreams come true
- Norway: In cooperation with the national MS advocacy organization, conducting several meetings around the country for people with MS and their families about mobility impairment, providing the opportunity to meet with rehabilitation specialists and health care providers
- Spain: Hosting meetings across the country in conjunction with local MS advocacy organizations to raise awareness of the issue of mobility impairment in people living with MS. The company is also sponsoring a charity race to help raise awareness of the disease
- Sweden: Along with local MS advocacy organizations, hosting a number of activities for people living with MS - launching an e-learning tool for those who are newly diagnosed; reporting results from a survey on mobility impairment in people living with MS; and hosting an informational meeting with prominent speakers and physicians
- Switzerland: Raising awareness of mobility impairment in people living with MS in collaboration with the local MS advocacy organization.
"We are working diligently to develop ground-breaking therapies that will bring new hope to those living with MS," adds Richert. "Our MS franchise continues to demonstrate strong momentum and we are devoted to addressing patients' needs today and tomorrow. But we recognize that it is about more than treatments - we need a global community that acknowledges the intricacies of this condition and provides the resources to overcome the devastating consequences of this disease."