Novartis to tackle chronic diseases in poor countries with new program
- Novartis is launching a program which will supply chronic disease drugs for $1, per person, per month in poor countries.
- Targeted chronic disease areas under the program include diabetes, cardiovacular disease (CVD), and respiratory disease.
- The program will kick off in three countries—Kenya, Ethiopia, and Vietnam—and will eventually be expanded to 30 countries.
In the midst of widespread criticism of pharma companies on drug pricing, some companies such as Novartis, Roche, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are pushing efforts devoted to supplying low-cost drugs to developing countries.
The need isn't just there—it's an acute one. According to U.N. estimates, more than 40% of adults in many African countires have hypertension, and 80% of all people with diabetes (a total global population of 350 million people) live in developing countries.
While some may find these statistics surprising, they should not be considering the incursion of calorie-dense, nutrition-poor food in places like Vietnam, where diabetes is spreading rapidly in urban areas as people eschew traditional diets in favor of fast food.