The FINANCIAL — Novartis on September 24 announced the launch of Novartis Access, a portfolio of 15 medicines to treat chronic diseases in low- and low-middle-income countries. The portfolio addresses cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer and will be offered to governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other public-sector healthcare providers for USD 1 per treatment, per month.
“Novartis Access is a natural extension of two important contributions our company makes to society: developing innovative medicines that help people fight disease and working to get them to as many people as possible,” said Joerg Reinhardt, Chairman of the Board of Novartis. “This program takes an novel approach to addressing the rising tide of chronic diseases in parts of the world where people often have limited access to healthcare. We know we will need to keep an open mindset and learn as we progress on this journey.”
The Novartis Access portfolio includes patented and generic Novartis medicines. It will be launched first in Kenya, Ethiopia and Vietnam. Over the coming years, Novartis plans to roll out Novartis Access to 30 countries, depending on demand.
The products included in the Novartis Access product portfolio have been selected based on the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines List and are among the most commonly prescribed medicines in these countries. Novartis expects this new approach to be commercially sustainable over the long term, enabling continuous support in those regions, according to Novartis.
Each year, approximately 28 million people die from chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries, representing 75% of deaths from NCDs globally. By 2025, the WHO projects that 75% of all deaths will be due to NCDs, mostly due to the rapid increase of NCDs in poverty-stricken areas.
Novartis is launching Novartis Access to coincide with the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, where the new Sustainable Development Goals will be adopted.
To more effectively address the rapid rise of chronic diseases in low- and low-middle-income countries, Novartis is actively seeking to partner with governments, NGOs and other public-sector organizations to strengthen healthcare systems. Areas of potential collaboration include programs to raise awareness about diseases, train healthcare workers to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses and strengthen medicine distribution systems.
The challenge of improving access to medicines and healthcare will take a concerted long-term effort by many people and organizations. As a healthcare company, Novartis is trying to do its part.