Multinational pharmaceutical company, Novartis has ranked second in the 2018 Access to Medicine Index (ATMi), up from 3rd place in 2016, in recognition of its efforts to improve worldwide access to healthcare.

The Index measures the performance of the top-20 pharmaceutical companies to improve access to medicines and healthcare in developing countries. It covers seven categories: access-to-medicine management; market influence and compliance; R&D; pricing, manufacturing and distribution; patents and licensing; capacity building; and product donations.

Novartis remained the industry leader in access-to-medicine management, and its newly launched Access Principles – which aim to systematically integrate access strategies in how the company researches, develops and delivers medicines globally – have been highlighted as an innovative practice. The Novartis CEO and members of the Executive Committee now also have access objectives as part of their individual objectives.

“We are delighted that the Access to Medicine Index has recognised our actions to expand access to medicines and healthcare to underserved patients,” said CEO of Novartis, Vasant Narasimhan.

“It is a testimony to how our approach is evolving, from philanthropy to scalable and sustainable approaches, and to our commitment to systematically embed access into our business model. We have a long journey ahead of us, and we are committed to doing more to help get our therapies to more patients that need them,” continued Narasimhan.

Novartis rose to 3rd place in the R&D category in recognition of its systematic approach to assessing its portfolio against the unmet needs of underserved populations through a dedicated unit. The company rose 13 spots to 2nd place in market influence and compliance.

The ATMi recognised Novartis’ improved performance in internal controls and transparency, including financial support to patient groups. Novartis also performed strongly on product donations, in particular thanks to the wide geographic coverage of its leprosy programme in 49 countries.

Among the recognised best practices are the dedicated R&D unit to adapt medicines to the needs of patients in low- and middle-income countries; Novartis Access, their portfolio of medicines against chronic diseases for USD 1 per treatment per month, which was expanded to new countries in Africa and Asia; SMS for Life, which uses mobile technology to manage medicine stocks, train healthcare workers and track disease surveillance data; and ComHIP, supported by the Novartis Foundation and its partners to improve hypertension control and self-management in Ghana. Further, the company’s initiatives to strengthen care at community level and its approach to valuing the financial, environmental and social impact of its business activities on society are also highlighted.

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