Novartis launched Arogya Parivar, its first social business model, in 2007. Arogya Parivar, which means healthy family in Hindi, is an example of a “shared value” business model, an approach promoted by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, professors at Harvard Business School in the US.

In the case of Arogya Parivar, the need—and the opportunity—is massive: The 70% of Indians who live in poor rural areas account for only 22% of the country’s health expenditures. Most of them make less than USD 5 per day. The health camps Arogya Parivar offers are free and include information on treatment as well as consultations with a doctor, who volunteers several hours of his time in a village in return for exposure to a wider pool of potential patients. 

Meanwhile, a separate corporate arm of the program offers inexpensive products for common conditions such as malnutrition and diarrhea to doctors. By 2010, three years into the program, Novartis determined that Arogya Parivar was paying for itself by increasing demand for the company’s medicines in the areas it served; the number of doctor visits made by villagers in the locations where the camps were held had tripled.


years of successful operations


villages in 15 states reached


doctors covered to serve rural India

50+ mn

rural Indians impacted

Two separate, yet mutually reinforcing arms of health educators and sales supervisors

A team of health educators and sales supervisors are deployed in each cell. The health educators work closely with village leaders and local Asha (accredited social health activists) as well as Anganwadi workers appointed by the government to conduct community health education. This creates positive health-seeking behavior in the community by integrating prevention efforts into daily life and generating awareness “ripples” about disease recognition and treatment. In addition, local doctors donate their time at health camps to provide screening, diagnosis and therapies. Sales supervisors serve as the initiative’s local sales force, interacting with distributors, pharmacists and local doctors to ensure medicines are available in rural communities. They play an essential role in establishing a solid distribution network for a sustainable medicines supply and in building future business for Novartis.

The revenues generated through the sale of Arogya Parivar products fund the program’s social arm (i.e., the health education activities). Beyond our company, we believe that in the long term, this will also help create a level playing field with regards to quality medicines and marketing practices.



Arogya Parivar Footprint



Creating value for business and society

Arogya Parivar broke even in less than three years and has been sustainable ever since, meeting both its commercial and social targets.

The program is consistently recognized through awards and global rankings. It has received the Award for Social Marketing from the CMO Asia Awards, and the GBCHealth Business Action on Health Award. It was also named “best long-term rural marketing initiative” by the Rural Marketing Association of India, the country’s largest industry association. In 2015, Fortune magazine included Arogya Parivar in its top 10 Change the World list, which shines a spotlight on companies that have made significant progress in addressing major social problems as part of their core business strategy.