Glivec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP)

Partnership objectives

  1. Ensure access to Glivec and select other Novartis Oncology Products for patients in need.
  2. Guarantee effective management of the program.
  3. Support the drug distribution and tracking process.

The largest of Novartis’ Oncology Access programs – the Glivec International Patient Assistance Program – is a direct-to-patient access program. The largest of Novartis’ Oncology Access programs – the Glivec International Patient Assistance Program – is a direct-to-patient access program. Copyright Novartis

What are the health needs and challenges?

There is a lack of access to and reimbursement for cancer treatment in low and middle income countries. 

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

The largest of Novartis’ Oncology Access programs – the Glivec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP) is a direct-to-patient access program – developed to ensure patients with CML (chronic myeloid leukemia) or GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumour), two rare cancers, receive treatment.

GIPAP’s aim is to provide breakthrough drug, Glivec, at no cost to patients with certain forms of CML and GIST, who would not otherwise have access to treatment. GIPAP also provides patients with access to support groups, treatment and disease information, education and emotional support to help manage their illness. More than 60,000 patients from 80 countries have benefi­tted from GIPAP to date, the program is viewed as one of the most comprehensive and far-reaching cancer access programs ever developed on a global scale.

Novartis partners with physicians and international health organizations to facilitate access to Glivec via GIPAP. To reach as many CML and GIST patients in need as possible in low and middle income countries, GIPAP partners have established clear roles for the partners and a clear process for the program, engaged local governments and officials, and educated local partners to gain their support and commitment. The roles of the key partners are:

The Max Foundation:

  • Manages a system that enables GIPAP physicians to submit patient cases for approval and re-approval
  • Assesses submissions to approve patients according to program requirements
  • Assesses the number of patients in need so Novartis can ship the correct quantity of drugs
  • Provides emotional support to patients and families involved in GIPAP through local Max station representatives

Axios International:

  • Supports interaction with GIPAP physicians and institutions in countries where Novartis does not have a presence
  • Manages the drug import process in countries supported by GIPAP
  • Interacts with GIPAP institutions on a regular basis to ensure that they follow correct procedure


  • Ensures the timely shipment and distribution of the drug
  • Provides training, support and education to the parties involved
  • Manages a tracking process to guarantee the correct use of the donations          

Early engagement with governments in GIPAP countries is essential and clear program criteria are vital to the success of a program of this size and ambition. Equally important is clarity on the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved along with standard operating procedures to standardize processes across many disparate countries. Education on the program for physicians, governments, patients, distributors and others involved is also crucial.

The impact of GIPAP is especially significant where local health authorities and civil organizations work together to improve facilities and educate patients and their families, thereby providing resources to offer integrated patient care. The partnership is active in over 80 low and middle income counties. 

Partnership information

Company(ies) Novartis

Partner(s) Axios International, Chinese Charity Foundation, Max Foundation

Type of Partner(s) Government, NGOs, Other Business

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases

Disease(s) Cancer, Leukemia

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Product Donations, Health System Infrastructure - Training

Targeted Population(s) Marginalised / Indigenous People, People with low income

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 66

Country(ies) Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Start Date 2002

More information Novartis Oncology Patient Assistance

Completed date 2017

« Ten years ago, there were no resources in Africa for people facing chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and then Novartis Oncology brought access solutions to the region. »

Danielle Matia, Head of Programs, Africa Region, Max Foundation