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WHIPPANY, N.J., June 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has entered into an alliance with Afaxys, Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on serving women in the public health system. The alliance combines Afaxys' recognized and unique expertise, capabilities, and vision in serving the United States public health contraception market with Bayer's global intrauterine device (IUD) leadership and commitment to supplying the public health system. The goal of the Afaxys-Bayer Contraceptive Alliance for Public Health (ABC Alliance™) is to expand outreach to public health providers. The ABC Alliance will make Mirena, an IUD indicated to prevent pregnancy for up to five years and recommended in women who have had at least one child, and Skyla, an IUD indicated to prevent pregnancy for up to three years, more widely accessible to appropriate patients. The partnership will also help ensure that those patients have access to educational resources to help them better understand their contraceptive options.

"Affordable access to IUDs has long challenged the public health sector. Afaxys is looking forward to working with Bayer to expand contraceptive options available to public health family planning providers in the United States," said Ronda Dean, President and CEO of Afaxys. "Afaxys is always seeking opportunities to broaden contraceptive offerings to public health customers, including 340B program participants and public health providers that do not participate in the 340B program, so our partnership with Bayer is an extension of this promise to our customers."

The ABC Alliance will help overcome the historic challenges to women served by the public health sector to secure access to long acting reversible contraception, including IUDs.

The ABC Alliance also will help make Mirena and Skyla available with greater access and affordability to all public health providers, including for both 340B program participants as well as other public health providers that do not participate in the 340B program.

"This collaboration combines the expertise of two organizations strongly committed to women's health to help tackle a significant issue – the very real barriers of limited awareness of and access to birth control options for many women," said Paul Bedard, senior vice president and general manager, women's health, Bayer. "Bayer is committed to increasing awareness of and improving access to safe and effective contraception, including Mirena and Skyla, and is looking forward to working with Afaxys, a recognized leader in serving women in the public health system."

Availability of Mirena and Skyla through the ABC Alliance will begin later this month and public health providers will be provided the information to access the program.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) considers long-acting reversible contraception, including Mirena and Skyla, to be among the most effective birth control methods.1

Indication for Skyla® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 13.5 mg
Skyla is a hormone-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) indicated for the prevention of pregnancy for up to 3 years.

Indications for Mirena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 52 mg
Mirena is a hormone-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) placed in your uterus to prevent pregnancy for as long as you want to for up to 5 years. Mirena also treats heavy periods in women who choose intrauterine contraception. Mirena is recommended for women who have had a child.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT SKYLA AND MIRENA
  • If you have a pelvic infection, get infections easily, or have certain cancers, don't use Skyla or Mirena. Less than 1% of users of Skyla or Mirena get a serious pelvic infection called PID.
  • If you have persistent pelvic or stomach pain or if Skyla or Mirena comes out, tell your doctor. If Skyla or Mirena comes out, use back-up birth control. Skyla or Mirena may attach to or go through the uterus and cause other problems.
  • Pregnancy while using Skyla or Mirena is uncommon but can be life threatening and may result in loss of pregnancy or fertility. Ovarian cysts may occur with Skyla or Mirena but usually disappear.
  • Bleeding and spotting may increase in the first 3 to 6 months and remain irregular with Skyla or Mirena. Periods over time usually become shorter, lighter, or may stop.
  • Skyla and Mirena do not protect against HIV or STDs.

Only you and your healthcare provider can decide if Skyla or Mirena is right for you. Both Skyla and Mirena are available by prescription only.

For important risk and use information about Skyla, please see the full Prescribing Information.

For important risk and use information about Mirena, please see the full Prescribing Information.

About Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the U.S.-based pharmaceuticals business of Bayer HealthCare LLC, a subsidiary of Bayer AG. Bayer HealthCare is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry, and combines the activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care, and Pharmaceuticals divisions. As a specialty pharmaceutical company, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. provides products for General Medicine, Hematology, Neurology, Oncology and Women's Healthcare. The company's aim is to discover and manufacture products that will improve human health worldwide by diagnosing, preventing and treating diseases.

About Afaxys

Afaxys, Inc. is a mission driven, socially conscious business enterprise dedicated to serving the women's healthcare needs of public health providers and their patients. An emerging leader in the public health sector, Afaxys manages the supply needs of public health providers, ensuring customers receive affordable, reliable access to the products and services they need to care for patients. Since 2008, Afaxys has operated a Group Purchasing Organization, which negotiates favorable pricing across a broad base of healthcare products and services so its customers have access to best-in-class suppliers and service providers. In 2013, Afaxys launched its pharmaceutical division, Afaxys Pharmaceuticals, bringing a strong portfolio of quality FDA-approved branded and generic oral contraceptives to the public health sector market. The Company has an expanding portfolio of quality FDA-approved pharmaceuticals, which are available exclusively through the public health sector including public health clinics, college and university health centers, community health centers, non-retail prescribers, as well as city, county, state and federal facilities, at prices intended to be consistently lower than those currently on the market. To learn more, visit www.afaxys.com.

Forward-Looking Statement

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

BAYER, the Bayer Cross, Mirena and Skyla are registered trademarks of Bayer. Afaxys is a registered trademark of Afaxys. The Afaxys logo, Affordable Access and Afaxys Pharmaceuticals and Afaxys Group Services are trademarks of Afaxys.

© 2015 Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. Whippany, NJ 07981. All Rights Reserved.

1. ACOG Committee Opinion #450, "Increasing Use of Contraceptive Implants and Intrauterine Devices to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy." http://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/ACOG-Departments/Long-Acting-Reversible-Contraception/LARC-Clinical-Resources.

SOURCE Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc.