Our approach and targets

Improving access to medicines remains one of the world’s greatest healthcare challenges. At Novartis, we know that building trust with society depends not only on finding new treatments but also on making them available to as many people as possible. 

Through the Novartis Access Principles, we seek to expand access to our medicines to underserved patient populations in both developed and developing countries, while addressing major global health challenges, and we have set robust targets to reinforce our commitments. We aim to implement an access strategy for all new medicines launched. These strategies include innovative pricing and access models, earlier launches in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and approaches to strengthen healthcare systems. 

In 2020, Novartis committed to increase patient reach with our strategic innovative therapies in LMICs by at least 200% by 2025 (vs. 2019). In addition, we aim to increase patient reach of our four global health flagship programs in LMICs by at least 50% over the same period. To reinforce our commitment to these targets, we issued a EUR 1.85 billion sustainability-linked bond in 2020. Bondholders are entitled to receive a higher amount of interest if Novartis does not meet its access targets.

Research and development (R&D)

We systematically assess our research and development portfolio against the unmet needs of underserved populations. We select countries and sites to implement clinical trials based on medical needs, and we only initiate clinical trials in countries where we intend to make the medicine available to patients. We also work with governments and nongovernmental organizations to increase clinical trial capabilities in LMICs, with the goal of bringing more innovation to patients. 

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Affordability and pricing

We use a combination of approaches to help patients across the income pyramid access our medicines. We seek to price our medicines based on the value they deliver to patients, healthcare systems and society. We aim to implement tiered pricing for launches in our Innovative Medicines division, taking into account income levels, local affordability barriers and economic realities, while maintaining the sustainability of our business. We also make our medicines available through patient support programs, as well as managed access and post-trial access programs.

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Other information

  • Managerial responsibility for value-based programs
    • The relevant Executive Committee Members of Novartis review access strategies for all launches, including value-based programs, in the Innovative Medicines Division before their implementation.
  • Pricing transparency in developed and developing markets
    • Novartis discloses the total year-over-year gross and net price changes across the US product portfolio: Novartis in Society US Report 2021
    • For the US, the manufacturer list price (Wholesaler Acquisition Cost) is published in the Red Book, and updated every year, including annual price increases. For other countries, if reimbursed, the list price is published in the official gazette, as well as on the authority/agency’s website (e.g., G-BA in Germany, AIFA in Italy, and NICE in the England) according to local rules and regulations.
  • Products covered by equitable pricing policies, including number of products and proportion of products for diseases in scope

Health systems strengthening

A medicine is only as good as the system that delivers it. Improving access to healthcare requires long-term investments in healthcare infrastructure. We therefore seek opportunities to lower local barriers to healthcare delivery, working in collaboration with governments and other partners to support quality patient care in areas where we can have the greatest impact. For more information on our health system strengthening activities, please see our corporate website or click on the links below. 

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Global health and neglected diseases

Our work on global health is aligned with our overall efforts to expand access to our medicines. We follow an integrated approach for the control or elimination of four diseases where there has been market failure and little investment in research and development: Sickle cell disease (SCD), Chagas disease, Malaria, and Leprosy. For more information on our global health priorities, please see our corporate website or click on the links below. 

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Intellectual Property

Society relies on the biopharmaceutical industry to develop and provide new medicines. As a world leader in the discovery and development of new medicines, Novartis seeks patent protection for new chemical entities and new biologics in countries where patents play, or are expected to play, a significant role in helping to generate the global returns needed to sustain the R&D cycle, and/or to support the local investments necessary to successfully launch and deliver our medicines to the patients who need them. For more information on patents and licensing, please see our corporate website or click on the links below. 

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