As the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt across the country, Novartis in Canada which includes the Innovative Medicines Division (Oncology and Pharma business units) and Sandoz Canada, is focused on helping Canadians with what they need now and into the future as we adapt to life with COVID-19.
Along with ensuring all of our associates in Canada remain safe and healthy so they can continue to serve patients, whether they are working remotely from home or in our essential facilities, Novartis in Canada is mobilizing to meet the COVID-19 challenge in four key areas:
- Ensuring a continuous supply of medicines
- Facilitating ongoing and new research
- Supporting our communities and patient groups
- Standing by healthcare professionals
Ensuring a continuous supply of medicines
As a healthcare company with a strong presence and long-established roots in Canada, Novartis understands that the Canadian patients we serve – including our own friends and families – are counting on us to continue to provide the medicines they need to stay as healthy as possible and to treat serious conditions.
We also need to meet the increasing demand for our products used in hospitals and are committed to meeting these crucial objectives.
All Novartis manufacturing sites – including the Sandoz Canada sterile injectable manufacturing plant in Boucherville, Quebec, which makes crucial hospital products – as well as our major suppliers continue to be operational to help us deliver on our promise. We are confident in our supply chain and will continuously assess this evolving situation and adapt accordingly to continue to meet the needs of Canadians.
Novartis is also working continuously with federal and provincial governments and healthcare system partners to find solutions for patients experiencing challenges accessing treatments.
One of our actions to ensure continuity of treatment is making vital cancer therapies available for patients to receive at home instead of having to go to the hospital. Part of this effort includes ensuring the nurses we work with who provide home-based care have the necessary personal protective equipment available to safely provide much needed treatments to patients in their homes.
We are also ensuring that our patient support programs for those on Novartis medicines for a variety of conditions continue to be available to provide telephone and online services so patient treatment and support needs are not interrupted.
Facilitating ongoing and new research
Finding solutions for difficult health challenges is a top priority. Novartis has already launched several important initiatives to contribute to the global pharmaceutical industry and government effort to find treatments and vaccines to fight COVID-19.
At the same time, we are working to ensure the many important research programs we have in other disease areas are not interrupted by the pandemic. To support clinical trial continuity in Canada, where possible we are shipping study medications to patients directly to their homes to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on clinical development.
In the fight against COVID-19, we have mobilized our global R&D capabilities and have initiated major new clinical trials of promising existing medications to evaluate their potential in treating COVID-19.
Thanks to the great collaboration of healthcare institutions, clinicians, regulators, our manufacturing chain and our associates, initiation of these studies has been achieved with record speed with the goal of finding solutions as soon as possible to manage COVID-19.
Supporting our communities and patient groups
Novartis is also committed to helping as many Canadians as possible during these very challenging times.
In April 2020, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. and Sandoz Canada Inc. announced the creation of the Community Strong COVID-19 response program COVID-19 response program, earmarking $500,000 to be given to community and patient groups in Canada to address the needs of Canadian patients during the pandemic.
United Way Centraide Canada and Food Banks Canada have been identified as the first community organizations to receive donations through the Community Strong program. Donations will also be made to support Canadian patient organizations with COVID-19-related objectives.
In addition, and to respond to the generosity of our associates to contribute to Community Strong, we have established an employee donation program with a commitment by the company to match up to $50,000 in employee donations.
Standing by healthcare professionals
Novartis associates in Canada are privileged to work with the healthcare professionals who are at the front lines not just of the COVID-19 pandemic but in helping all Canadians who require care and treatment in these very challenging times.
Because we see it every day, we know first-hand about the dedication and commitment of our doctors, pharmacists, nurses, technicians, and every other healthcare worker who are doing everything to help their patients stay well and get well. In recent weeks, their efforts have been more than remarkable, they have been heroic.
Every Novartis associate is committed to providing healthcare professionals we work with some of the tools and support they need to help Canadian patients. It is our way of doing what we can to help ensure that we will all get through this, together.