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Novartis signs drug access deal with Pakistan government

Published on 12/05/17 at 09:57am

Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination has signed an agreement with Novartis to improve access to medicines for chronic disease.

The memorandum of understanding signed by both parties concerns the launch of Novartis Access, a programme through which the Swiss pharma giant’s medicines will be provided through selected hospitals in the capital city of Islamabad as part of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s National Health Programme.

The medicines made available as part of the programme will focus on the key areas of four non-communicable ailments which together account for 20% of all annual deaths of those aged 30 to 70: diabetes, respiratory illness, breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, which have grown to be a significant problem in the country. It is hoped that the situation can be salved through improved access to high-quality therapies at a low price. Following its roll-out in the capital, the plan is to be expanded to cover all districts included in the Prime Minister's Programme.

The agreement was signed by Dr Faisal Rifaq, Director of the National Health Programme, and Novartis CEO Shahab Rizvi. Minister of State for Health Saira Afzal Tarar commented on the signing by saying, “it is part of the prime minister’s ambitious plans to make Pakistan a true welfare state.”

Matt Fellows

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