Kenya Becomes the First Country to Launch Novartis Access

The initiative is targeted towards expanding affordable treatment options against chronic diseases and is expected to be rolled out to as many as 30 countries in the years to come

Novartis has announced the launch of Novartis Access in Kenya, the first country to benefit from a portfolio of 15 affordable medicines to treat cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. The Novartis portfolio is being offered to the Kenyan government, non-governmental organisations and other public-sector healthcare providers for US$1 per treatment, per month.

“Novartis and Kenya have a relationship of more than 40 years, so I am delighted that Kenyan patients will be the first to benefit from Novartis Access,” said Joerg Reinhardt, Chairman of the Board of Novartis. “The successful implementation of the programme in Kenya will be essential to guide the expansion of Novartis Access to other countries in the future.”

In conjunction with the launch of the access portfolio and to support effective treatment of chronic diseases in Kenya, Novartis will partner with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, the Kenyan Red Cross, the Kenyan Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and other key stakeholders.

These collaborations are intended to support the healthcare system through measures such as reinforcing drug distribution channels and training healthcare workers to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses. Novartis is also collaborating with Boston University in the US to measure the impact on health in Kenya and steer ongoing development of Novartis Access.

“I am excited by the proactive steps being taken by our government and Novartis in the fight against cancer and other chronic diseases,” said H.E. Margaret Kenyatta, First Lady of the Republic of Kenya. “Novartis Access complements the advocacy campaign I have been undertaking together with other African First Ladies to expand access to prevention and treatment for people with chronic diseases.”

·         Some 28 million people die from chronic diseases in low-and middle-income countries each year, representing 75 percent of such deaths globally

·         In Kenya, NCDs account for more than a quarter of deaths, or almost 100,000 people a year

·         By 2030, NCDs are expected to contribute to more than 60 percent of the total national mortality 

·         In July, 2015, the Kenyan government launched a new strategy for the prevention, control and management of NCDs

“The most pressing health problems can only be solved if the public sector, civil society and the private sector work together,” said Dr. Abbas Gullet, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross. “Novartis is making an important contribution to fighting NCDs, but in order for Novartis Access to make a long-term impact, we need to drive it locally.”

The Novartis Access portfolio includes patented and generic Novartis medicines. The products have been selected based on the World Health Organisation’s Essential Medicines List and are among the most commonly prescribed medicines.

Following Kenya, Novartis Access will be launched in Ethiopia and Vietnam. Over the coming years, Novartis plans to roll out Novartis Access to 30 countries, depending on demand, and expects this new approach to be commercially sustainable in the long-term, enabling continuous support in those regions.