MANILA, PHILIPPINES (25 February 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today signed an agreement for a private sector loan of up to CNY130 million ($18.6 million) to Jointown Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. (Jointown) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The local currency loan will support Jointown’s efforts to ensure a continued supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment such as protective clothing, gloves, goggles, face masks, and respirators. The financing will also support Jointown’s cooperation with the Red Cross in its efforts to respond to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Jointown is the largest private pharmaceutical distributor in the PRC and is headquartered in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are very grateful to ADB for its timely support for Jointown at the frontline of the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic,” said the Vice Chairman of Jointown Liu Zhaonian. “With ADB’s facility, we will further deliver drugs and urgently needed personal protective equipment to the most severely affected areas.”
“This financing will help Jointown to maintain adequate stock of urgently needed medical supplies, antiviral drugs, and personal protective equipment for distribution to hospitals and retail pharmacy outlets,” said the Director General of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department Mike Barrow. “By focusing support at the center of the outbreak, the assistance will make a meaningful contribution to Jointown’s crucial role in containing the spread.”
Jointown has been designated by the Hubei provincial government to procure and distribute drugs and medical supplies during the COVID-19 outbreak. Its distribution warehouse in Wuhan is the largest such facility in the PRC. Advanced information technology systems help Jointown to maintain efficiencies and service standards even as the spread of the virus significantly increases the demand for medical supplies. Given its experience in warehouse and inventory management, Jointown has been asked to assist the Wuhan and Hubei provincial branches of the Red Cross Society of China in classifying, storing, and managing inventory of donated products.
The financing is ADB’s first private sector assistance to support health security and was expedited under a streamlined approval process for small nonsovereign transactions. The two-year loan will complement loans already provided to Jointown by PRC financial institutions. It is part of ADB’s broader response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which was initiated on 7 February with $2 million in funding to strengthen response capacity in several countries in Asia and the Pacific.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.