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German medicine giant to supply subsidized packs for NCDs

German medicine giant to supply subsidized packs for NCDs

Novartis, one of the global medicine manufacturers, said that it will supply 1.8 million packs of medicines costing USD 1.8 million to treat patients of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Ethiopia through its social business platform.

The manufacturer, with its Novartis Social Business (NSB) segment which mostly undertakes socially edged business activities, has agreed to supply Ethiopia with medicines that could serve patients with blood pressure, asthma, cancer and diabetics at ex-factory price rates that exclude costs of transportations, deliveries and the likes. Hence, based on an agreement with Ethiopia and a handful of other African countries, it is availing a much highly needed medicines for no communicable diseases with a dollar per patient per month arrangement.

In fact, as reports suggest, back in 2015, a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) was signed with the Ministry of Health (MoH)and it was only last year that the pilot shipment of some 400,000 packs of medicine arrived to Ethiopia.

During a meeting held in Kampala last week, Nathan Mulure, cluster head with Novartis Social Business for eastern and southern Africa told reporters that the Novartis Social Business has an accessible program designed to make quality medicines available to patients who could not afford to buy them. The agreement is said to last for five years and purchase orders are progressing, he said.

Guesh Haile, country representative for Ethiopia with NSB told both Capital and The Reporter that, the manufacturer not only provides medicines with low cost, but provides capacity building supports. Furthermore, it will launch awareness creation campaigns for early checkups and diagnostic programs in order to avoid complications and severe outcomes of diseases.

Apart from providing subsidized medicines, NSB is geared to provide early diagnostic supports for 300,000 patients in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the UK based NGO, the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) is implementing the screening and diagnostic activities.

USD 60 billion transaction giants Novartis, has been present in Ethiopia for years providing high end medicines. Currently, it is supporting the Ethiopian Red Cross Society to supply the required medicines at its 45 drug stores across the country. 

In Ethiopia, according to Kunuz Abdella, a technical advisor for cancer prevention and control with the Ministy of Health said that the acute shortages of physicians such as oncologists together with medicine are aggravating the prevalence of NCDs in Ethiopia. So far, 16 percent of the NDCs are caused by blood pressure and some 67,000 new patients are admitted for cancer treatments. 

The healthcare access program Novartis has launched in many parts of the world, where access to healthcare, quality and affordable medicines in the likes of Africa, has now gradually been implemented in almost ten countries so far, Dr. Harald Nusser, head of Novartis Social Business, said.

Dr. Nusser who is often quoted for saying “a medicine is only as good as the system it delivered in,” is now spreading NSB outreaches to Ethiopia where the prevalence of acute respiratory infections, mental disorders and cardiovascular diseases are rising as the most killer diseases in the country.