Novartis Announces New Medicines Strategy In Africa

Vas Narasimhan

Novartis has announced a new strategy to broaden patient reach and availability of its portfolio of medicines in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which is home to the largest underserved patient population in the world.

Novartis also aspires to be the partner of choice for governments and NGOs to strengthen healthcare systems across Africa.

“We are deeply committed to improving access to medicines around the world,” Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis in a release.

A quarter of the global disease burden weighs on Africa, but only 3% of the world’s health workers are based on the continent and the share of the world’s health expenditure for Africa is below 1%.

As part of the new strategy, Novartis will pivot the current organizational focus in SSA from financial metrics such as sales performance and profits, to metrics that drive access to innovative medicines and strengthen health systems in the region.

Racey Muchilwa, the appointed Head of Global Health SSA according to the release is contributing her strong knowledge of the healthcare system and patient needs in the region.

The release said Novartis also, would work to increase its clinical trial capabilities, and accelerate regulatory and administrative processes in the region, to shorten the time between the development, approval and ultimately access to new medicines for patients across SSA.

“I feel honored to lead our talented team in executing our new strategy. Our aspiration is to be the leading healthcare partner in sub-Saharan Africa and work with NGOs and governments to strengthen health systems,” Racey Muchilwa said in the release.

Novartis has a long-standing commitment to helping improve health of people in Africa.

This includes communicable diseases such as malaria and leprosy as well as non-communicable diseases such as sickle cell disease (SCD), cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Novartis has contributed nearly 900 million courses of malaria treatment at no-profit to patients in malaria endemic countries, including more than 380 million doses of our pediatric formulation.

Novartis is also pioneering research and development with clinical trials, utilizing novel biologic molecules and deploying new technologies to provide the benefits of cutting-edge innovation to the region.

By Melvin Tarlue