- The strategy is aligned with the Novartis Access Principles, which aim to systematically integrate access strategies in how the company researches, develops and delivers medicines globally
- A newly formed sub-Saharan Africa unit will deploy innovative approaches to increase patient reach across the full income pyramid
- Novartis is building on its established activities in malaria, cancer, sickle cell and cardiovascular diseases as well as proven social business models on the continent
- A quarter of the global disease burden is located in Africa, but only 3% of the world’s health workers are based on the continent and the share of the world’s health expenditure for Africa is below 1%. 
Basel, November 13, 2019 — Novartis announced today a new strategy to broaden patient reach and availability of its portfolio of medicines in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which is home to the largest underserved patient population in the world. Novartis also aspires to be the partner of choice for governments and NGOs to strengthen healthcare systems across Africa.
“We are deeply committed to improving access to medicines around the world,” says Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. “Building on our longstanding efforts to improving health in Africa, including on malaria and sickle cell disease, we’re taking a comprehensive approach to ensuring patients in sub-Saharan Africa, regardless of income, have access to our portfolio of medicines.”
A quarter of the global disease burden weighs on Africa, but only 3% of the world’s health workers are based on the continent and the share of the world’s health expenditure for Africa is below 1%. Health systems frequently have to rely on NGOs and external donors to fund and provide services for the largest underserved patient population in the world. 
As part of the new strategy, Novartis will pivot the current organizational focus in SSA from financial metrics such as sales performance and profits, to metrics that drive access to innovative medicines and strengthen health systems in the region. A new organizational unit will bring together the expertise and portfolio of our Sandoz Division, the Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Oncology business units comprising our Innovative Medicines Division and Novartis Social Business. Racey Muchilwa is appointed Head of Global Health SSA, contributing her strong knowledge of the healthcare system and patient needs in the region.
The SSA unit aims to maximize patient reach across the full income pyramid by focusing on tiered pricing models, competitiveness in tenders and scaling social business models as well as affordability strategies. Novartis also will work to increase its clinical trial capabilities, and accelerate regulatory and administrative processes in the region to shorten the time between the development, approval and ultimately access to new medicines for patients across SSA.
“I feel honored to lead our talented team in executing our new strategy. Our aspiration is to be the leading healthcare partner in sub-Saharan Africa and work with NGOs and governments to strengthen health systems,” says Racey Muchilwa, Head of Global Health SSA. “We aim to harness the power of digital and new technologies, to maximize the impact we can have on the health of people in sub-Saharan Africa where the population is expected to double by 2050 to 2.2 billion.”
Novartis has a long-standing commitment to helping improve health of people in Africa. This includes communicable diseases such as malaria and leprosy as well as non-communicable diseases such as sickle cell disease (SCD), cardiovascular disease and cancer. Novartis has contributed nearly 900 million courses of malaria treatment at no-profit to patients in malaria-endemic countries, including more than 380 million doses of our pediatric formulation. Novartis is also pioneering research and development with clinical trials, utilizing novel biologic molecules and deploying new technologies to provide the benefits of cutting-edge innovation to the region. Most recently, the company announced a broad public-private partnership with the government of Ghana to tackle sickle cell disease, including access to available medicine, clinical research and use of digital technologies to achieve global standards of care.
This media update contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by words such as “potential,” “can,” “will,” “plan,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “look forward,” “believe,” “committed,” “investigational,” “pipeline,” “launch,” or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential marketing approvals, new indications or labeling for the investigational or approved products described in this media update, or regarding potential future revenues from such products. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs and expectations regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that the investigational or approved products described in this media update will be submitted or approved for sale or for any additional indications or labeling in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that such products will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, our expectations regarding such products could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; global trends toward health care cost containment, including government, payor and general public pricing and reimbursement pressures and requirements for increased pricing transparency; our ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; the particular prescribing preferences of physicians and patients; general political and economic conditions; safety, quality or manufacturing issues; potential or actual data security and data privacy breaches, or disruptions of our information technology systems, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this media update as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this media update as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach more than 750 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 109,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at
Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis at http://twitter.com/novartisnews
For Novartis multimedia content, please visit www.novartis.com/news/media-library
For questions about the site or required registration, please contact [email protected]
 Mash R, Howe A, Olayemi O, et al. Reflections on family medicine and primary healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. BMJ Glob Health 2018; 3:e000662.
# # #
Novartis Media Relations
E-mail: [email protected]
| Antonio Ligi
Novartis External Communications
+41 61 324 1374
| Katerina Kontzalis
Novartis GH&CR Communications
+41 79 79 78 393 (mobile)
Novartis Investor Relations
Central investor relations line: +41 61 324 7944
E-mail: [email protected]
|Samir Shah||+41 61 324 7944||Sloan Simpson||+1 862 778 5052|
| Pierre-Michel Bringer
| +41 61 324 1065
+41 61 324 8425
+41 61 324 7188
|Cory Twining||+1 862 778 3258|