Sandoz, a subsidiary of Novartis, partners with MEDS to supply affordable medicines to patients with non-communicable diseases
The cost of managing diabetes, cancer, hypertension and asthma in Kenya is set to reduce following the launch of a programme geared at supplying medicines for these conditions at affordable prices.
This follows a partnership between Novartis-Sandoz, a leading global pharmaceutical company, and Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS), a faith based not-for-profit organisation to warehouse and distribute affordable medicines to fight non-communicable diseases.
Speaking during the launch at MEDS Centre, Nairobi MEDS Managing Director, Mr Paschal Manyuru said the organisation reaches millions of patients that the government is unable to serve. “This is good news for the Kenyan population and the world at large. We are going to play our part and play it well,” he stated.
Novartis Chairman Dr Joerg Reinhardt said they chose to collaborate with MEDS because of its elaborate supply chain expertise which enables it to reach remote parts of the country. It also considered its state-of-the art warehouse where medical supplies are stored and the integrity of its supply chain.
The number of non-communicable diseases in low and middle income countries has been on a rise. Every year, 28 million people die from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases and cancer. This represents nearly 75 percent of deaths from NDCs globally. The partnership comes a few months after the World Bank selected MEDS for a study on how medical supply chains operate in Africa. The global financial institution lauded MEDS supply chain as one of the most efficient models serving the continent in medical supply.
Besides this partnership, MEDS has other similar price access partnerships with Novo Nordisk (Base of the Pyramid project) aimed at improving access to insulin for better diabetes care and management and Astra Zeneca (Healthy Heart Africa Project) aimed at improving access to hypertension medicines for better hypertension management and care. It has also partnered with GlaxoSmithKline to provide affordable antibiotics among other products and John & Johnson (Mama and Toto Rescue Project) to reduce maternal mortality in Kenya.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) in 2012, about one percent of deaths in Kenya were directly attributed to diabetes with many of the deaths associated with cardiovascular complications such as heart attack. Cancer is one of the leading killers after infectious and cardiovascular diseases and WHO estimates that by the year 2020, cancer will kill over 10 million people annually.
The Novartis Access Project is a global initiative to be rolled out in Kenya, Ethiopia and Vietnam. The initial Novartis Access portfolio will include products from Novartis-Sandoz pharmaceuticals. The products have been selected based on WHO model list of essential medicines. They are also among the most commonly prescribed medicines.