Novartis makes progress in the fight to eliminate leprosy worldwide

NovartisNovartis celebrates the one-year anniversary of an unprecedented, coordinated effort to eliminate or control 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020. The commitment was captured in the landmark London Declaration on NTDs in which Novartis and a group of partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), government officials from the United States, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates governments, the World Bank and non-governmental organizations, and 13 other pharmaceutical companies pledged new and extended commitments to fight NTDs. Its goal is to improve the lives of the estimated over one billion people affected by these diseases worldwide.

In the year since its launch, Novartis and its partners have worked toward fulfilling their commitments and announced their progress in the First Annual Report on the London Declaration on NTDs.

"The challenges in delivering healthcare in developing countries are considerable: poor infrastructure, poverty, lack of trained health workers, and many more," said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. "No one company can solve these issues alone. We're proud to be working with so many dedicated partners to address the most pressing health problems in the developing world today."

Novartis and the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development (NFSD) have a long-term commitment to leprosy treatment and control, having provided over USD 110 million for patients worldwide to date. Since 2000, through the WHO, Novartis has donated multidrug therapy (MDT) valued at over USD 80 million, helping to treat over 5 million patients. Last year, Novartis continued its work with the WHO by extending its drug donation program through the year 2020.

NFSD has been active in the fight against leprosy for more than 25 years, providing more than CHF 30 million to help reduce the stigma attached to leprosy, prevent disabilities and help patients reintegrate in society. To facilitate the drug donation, NFSD is currently developing innovative approaches to enhance leprosy services. In Tanzania, the foundation added the tracking of leprosy and tuberculosis (TB) medicines to the SMS for Life public-private partnership led by Novartis and piloted across Tanzania, with over 500 facilities now trained and reporting on a weekly basis.

SMS for Life is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership led by Novartis. Developed under the umbrella of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and supported by the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, IBM, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Vodacom and Vodafone, the program was started to track malaria drug supplies in public health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. Through the use of mobile phones and electronic mapping technology, SMS for Life provides transparent information that can be used to eliminate drug stock-outs and increase access to essential medicines.

In Cambodia, NFSD pilots a methodology of active case finding by tracking former leprosy patients. The foundation is also developing a tele-health solution in the Amazon in Brazil to improve the quality of leprosy services. In the Philippines, the foundation supports the establishment of a task-force to identify and advance new approaches that help maintain adequate leprosy services even in times of low endemicity. In collaboration with Novartis Philippines and the Department of Health, the foundation launched a contest in January 2013 inviting participants to share best practices and innovative ideas in fighting leprosy. Finally, the Novartis Comprehensive Leprosy Care Association (NCLCA) in India, supported by NFSD, helps former patients with deformities reintegrate into society through fostering disability care, including surgeries, grip aids and physiotherapy.

About Novartis access-to-healthcare initiatives
Novartis has a long-term commitment to enhancing access to healthcare in the developing world. Novartis works to discover vaccines and medicines for neglected diseases through two wholly-owned research institutes: The Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) in Singapore and The Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health (NVGH) in Italy. Novartis also runs the Novartis Malaria Initiative, which is one of the healthcare industry's largest access-to-medicine programs worldwide. Since 2001, Novartis has worked with a range of organizations to ensure effective delivery of our antimalarial medicine Coartem, providing more than 500 million treatments without profit.

In 2011, Novartis access-to-medicine programs reached more than 89 million patients and together with our research institutes for diseases of the developing world, are valued at USD 1.7 billion, or 3% of net sales.

About multidrug therapy (MDT) in treating leprosy
Since 1985, more than 14 million people living with leprosy worldwide have been treated by MDT, the treatment recommended by the WHO, shrinking the worldwide prevalence by approximately 95%. According to the WHO in 2011 there were 219,075 new cases reported, from a total of 105 countries. Despite these successes, leprosy control remains at a critical juncture and knowledge of the disease is becoming less common. Moving forward, early detection and continued availability of free treatment are essential.

The development of MDT changed the face of leprosy dramatically. MDT consists of three drugs (rifampicin, clofazimine and dapsone), two of which (rifampicin and clofazimine) were developed in the research laboratories of Novartis in the 1980s. Multidrug therapy has made it possible to treat patients, interrupt the transmission of leprosy and prevent disabilities. Even patients with the severest form of the disease show visible clinical improvement within weeks of starting treatment.

About the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development
The Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development is a nonprofit organization whose activities form part of the Corporate Responsibility portfolio of Novartis AG, which finances the foundation's operations. For over 30 years, the foundation's mission has been to support healthcare programs in developing countries. Its core competencies also include in-depth analysis, consulting and publications in the fields of corporate responsibility and development policy. By harnessing synergies between project work, think-tank activities and the facilitation of dialogue, it elaborates innovative strategies for common development problems. In 2012, the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development invested approximately CHF 10 million, largely in sub-Saharan Africa.

About Novartis
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2011, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58.6 billion, while approximately USD 9.6 billion (USD 9.2 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 127,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world.

Most Popular Now

Amgen announces Repatha® (evolocumab) significantl…

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) has announced that the FOURIER trial evaluating whether Repatha® (evolocumab) reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with clinically ev...

Read more

Vitamin D discovery could prove key to new treatme…

A team led by Motonari Uesugi, professor and deputy director of Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS), found that a vitamin D metabol...

Read more

Nuts can inhibit the growth of cancer cells

Roasted and salted, ground as a baking ingredient or fresh from the shell - for all those who enjoy eating nuts, there is good news from nutritionists at Friedrich Schill...

Read more

The drugs don't work, say back pain researchers

Commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, used to treat back pain provide little benefit, but cause side effects, according to new research ...

Read more

An alternative theory on how aspirin may thwart ca…

Studies abound that point to a role for plain old aspirin in keeping deadly cancers at bay. While aspirin is not yet part of mainstream treatment for any cancer, it is re...

Read more

Novo Nordisk enters collaboration with University …

University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk today announced a landmark research collaboration focused on type 2 diabetes. The partnership will enable scientists from Novo Nordi...

Read more

Relationship expert teams up with Pfizer to addres…

Nationally-recognized relationship expert and author, Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., has partnered with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) to fill a void in information available to people li...

Read more

Pfizer reports fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 r…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) reported financial results for fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 and provided 2017 financial guidance. Pfizer manages its commercial operations th...

Read more

Anti-inflammatory diet could reduce risk of bone l…

Anti-inflammatory diets - which tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains - could boost bone health and prevent fractures in some women, a new study su...

Read more

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll chemistry in the bra…

The same brain-chemical system that mediates feelings of pleasure from sex, recreational drugs, and food is also critical to experiencing musical pleasure, according to a...

Read more

Drug shows promise for treating alcoholism

UCLA researchers have found that an anti-inflammatory drug primarily used in Japan to treat asthma could help people overcome alcoholism. Their study is the first to eval...

Read more

Novartis delivered solid 2016 performance

Novartis announced today that the net sales were USD 48.5 billion (-2%, 0% cc) in the full year, as volume growth of 6 percentage points was offset by the negative impact...

Read more

Pharmaceutical Companies

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Z ]