Kenya Is the First Country to Receive $1 Medications for Chronic Illnesses
A global pharmaceutical company is taking the lead in the fight against chronic illnesses by offering treatment at extremely low costs.
Novartis recently launched an innovative program called Novartis Access that provides medicine for a variety of noncommunicable diseases, all for $1 per treatment per month. The Switzerland-based company plans to provide 15 patented and generic medicines for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. Novartis provides affordable drugs to nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders in the public sector for distribution.
So why is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world taking on a new business model for a pilot program?
“As a global health care company, we think it’s the right thing to do,” said Nadine Schecker, head of communications for Novartis Access.
Chronic diseases kill 38 million people worldwide every year. Nearly 75 percent of those deaths are in low- and middle-income countries. In Kenya alone, noncommunicable diseases account for 27 percent of all deaths. Breast cancer, for example, is the top cause of death for Kenyan women between the ages of 35 and 55.
The drugs were chosen based on the World Health Organization’s Lists of Essential Medicines. Novartis’ generic division, Sandoz, sets the low price point.
“The way we have approached this is not only to address one disease area at a time but to look into four main chronic disease areas at once and compile a portfolio of medicines where the average price is $1 per treatment for one month,” Schecker said.
- Health Care