Portfolio of 15 generic and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines from Sandoz division addresses urgent unmet needs of low- and lower-middle-income countries to treat patients with COVID-19 symptoms
Portfolio will be sold at zero-profit to governments in up to 791 eligible countries during the pandemic and until a vaccine or curative treatment is available
Early access to treatment for managing COVID-19 symptoms is critical to preventing healthcare system overload
Basel, July 16, 2020 — Today, Novartis announced a new initiative to help patients in low-income and lower-middle-income countries (LIC; LMIC) access affordable medicines to treat the major symptoms of COVID-19 – a critical need in the absence of a vaccine or curative treatment. Inflammation and respiratory problems linked to COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and can lead to death in some people, putting immense strain on fragile healthcare systems.
The Novartis COVID-19 portfolio includes 15 medicines from its Sandoz division for gastro-intestinal illness, acute respiratory symptoms, pneumonia as well as septic shock. The medicines were chosen based on clinical relevance and availability to ensure demand can be met globally.
The medicines will be made available to governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other institutional customers in up to 79 eligible countries at zero-profit to support financially-strained healthcare systems. Countries will have the flexibility to select the medicines in the portfolio that meet their healthcare needs. Eligible countries must be included on the World Bank’s list of LICs & LMICs1.
“Access to medicine can be a challenge for patients in low- and lower-middle-income countries and the situation has worsened during COVID-19. With our COVID-19 portfolio, we wish to help address the additional healthcare demands of the pandemic in the countries we are targeting,” said Dr Lutz Hegemann, Chief Operating Officer for Global Health at Novartis.
“This initiative builds on our earlier global commitment to keep prices stable for a basket of essential drugs used to treating COVID-19 patients,” said Sandoz CEO Richard Saynor. “The COVID-19 Response Portfolio for low-income and lower-middle-income countries is designed to support governments in treating COVID-19 symptoms before they lead to complications in patients.”
The following medicines are included in the Novartis COVID-19 Response Portfolio:
Amoxicillin, Ceftriaxone, Clarithromycin, Colchicine, Dexamethasone, Dobutamine, Fluconazole, Heparin, Levofloxacin, Loperamide, Pantoprazole, Prednisone, Prednisolone, Salbutamol, Vancomycin.
The portfolio will be offered in addition to the Novartis Access portfolio (on- and off-patent medicines against key non-communicable diseases) via the local Novartis or Sandoz affiliate.
This global pandemic has placed extreme pressure on healthcare systems in low- and lower-income countries. The pandemic response portfolio complements the previously launched Novartis COVID-19 Response Fund to support healthcare workers and communities in over 50 projects around the world.
The COVID-19 medicines portfolio is Novartis latest contribution to the global effort to combat the pandemic and support the stability of global healthcare systems. The company has committed to donating USD 40 million to support communities around the world impacted by the pandemic. In addition, Novartis has been active in two key cross-industry research initiatives, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, coordinated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard, as well as a COVID-19 directed partnership organized by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). Novartis continues to provide hydroxychloroquine for ongoing investigator-initiated trials (IITs) and upon government requests, as appropriate. The company is also separately supporting COVID-19 related clinical investigations of several Novartis medicines. To support access, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division Sandoz became the first company to commit to keeping stable prices for a basket of essential medicines that may help in the treatment of COVID-19 and entered into a partnership with US-based Civica Rx to support stable supply of essential generic hospital medicines. Furthermore, AveXis, Novartis gene therapy unit, entered into a manufacturing agreement with Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital to produce its novel genetic COVID-19 vaccine candidate called AAVCOVID. More information about the Novartis response to COVID-19 is available on https://www.novartis.com/coronavirus
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by words such as “potential,” “can,” “will,” “plan,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “seek,” “look forward,” “believe,” “committed,” “investigational,” “pipeline,” “launch,” or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential marketing approvals, new indications or labeling for the investigational or approved products described in this press release, or regarding potential future revenues from such products. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs and expectations regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that the investigational or approved products described in this press release will be submitted or approved for sale or for any additional indications or labeling in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that such products will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, our expectations regarding such products could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; global trends toward health care cost containment, including government, payor and general public pricing and reimbursement pressures and requirements for increased pricing transparency; our ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; the particular prescribing preferences of physicians and patients; general political, economic and business conditions, including the effects of and efforts to mitigate pandemic diseases such as COVID-19; safety, quality, data integrity or manufacturing issues; potential or actual data security and data privacy breaches, or disruptions of our information technology systems, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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