Novartis launches affordable medicines to treat chronic diseases in low-income countries

First-of-its-kind portfolio aims to increase availability and affordability of 15 medicines against cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses and breast cancer

Novartis has launched 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 organisations (NGOs) and other public-sector healthcare providers for US$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 programme takes a 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 in Kenya, Ethiopia and Vietnam. In 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 Organisation's ‘Essential Medicines List’ and are among the most commonly prescribed medicines in these countries. Novartis expects this new approach to be commercially sustainable in the long-term, enabling continuous support in those regions.

Each year, approximately 28 million people die from chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries, representing 75% of deaths from NCDs globally. By 2025, WHO projects that 75% of all deaths will result from NCDs.

To address the rapid rise of chronic diseases in low- and low-middle-income countries more effectively, Novartis is actively seeking to partner with governments, NGOs and other public-sector organisations to strengthen healthcare systems. Areas of potential collaboration include programmes to raise awareness about diseases, train healthcare workers to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses and strengthen medicine distribution systems.

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