Novartis Access

Partnership objectives

  1. Increase the availability and affordability of treatments against chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs);
  2. Strengthen health systems in low and middle-income countries where there is limited access to healthcare.

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What are the health needs and challenges?

Approximately 31 million people die each year from chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer in low- and middle-income countries, which represents more than 80% of deaths from NCDs globally. By 2020, the WHO estimated that 60% of the global disease burden and 73% of all deaths will be due to NCDs, mostly due to the rapid increase of NCDs in the developing world.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

The Novartis Access program consists of a portfolio of 15 medicines to treat chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. Fourteen out of fifteen medicines are either on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines or pertain to a class included in the list and are among the most frequently prescribed medicines in these disease areas. These medicines are offered to governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other public-sector healthcare providers for USD 1 per treatment, per month. Novartis expects this new approach to be commercially sustainable over the long term, enabling continuous support in those regions. 

Novartis Access started in September 2015. In two years, the program launched in six countries: Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Pakistan, Uganda and Cameroon. In addition, advanced discussions are taking place to introduce the program in three Asian countries and seven African countries. Since launch, more than 800 000 monthly treatments have been delivered in four countries and 502 products have been submitted for registration in 24 countries.

Boston University has developed a methodology to evaluate Novartis Access that could lead to an industry benchmark and conducted a first baseline study in Kenya. We are also working with partners on the ground to strengthen the supply chain and improve drug distribution.  

Over the coming years, the plan is to extend the portfolio to 30 countries, based on stakeholder demand. The company is seeking partnerships with governments, NGOs and other public-sector organizations, with the general objective to strengthen health systems. Areas of potential collaboration also include programs to raise awareness about diseases, train healthcare workers to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses and strengthen medicine distribution systems.

For more information: 

Read the Novartis Access Two-year report


Novartis Access in Kenya

Partnership information

Company(ies) Novartis

Partner(s) American Cancer Society (ACS), American Society for Clinical Pathology, Boston University, Cameroun Baptist Convention (CBC), Christian Health Association of Kenya, Duke NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Kenya Red Cross, Kenyan Conference of Catholic Bishops, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Ministries of Health, Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies, Red Cross, Uganda Protestant Bureau (UPB), World Heart Federation

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government, NGOs, Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases

Disease(s) Breast Cancer, Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetes, Respiratory Diseases

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Health System Infrastructure - Development of Physical Infrastructure, Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training

Targeted Population(s) General population, Health professionals, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income

Region(s) South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 6

Country(ies) Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, Rwanda, Uganda

Start Date 2015

More information Novartis Access two-year report

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« We know we will need to keep an open mindset and learn as we progress on this journey. »

Joerg Reinhardt, Chairman of the Board of Novartis