Transparent reporting has been a central part of our CR commitment for many years, and we continue to make progress in this area. Our CR Report is issued at the same time as our Annual Report to provide readers with a more integrated view of Novartis.
At Novartis, our mission is to discover new ways to improve and extend people’s lives. We use science-based innovation to address some of society’s biggest healthcare challenges. We discover and develop breakthrough treatments and find new ways to deliver them to as many people as possible. We also aim to provide a shareholder return that rewards those who invest their money, time and ideas in our company. Our vision is to be a trusted leader in changing the practice of medicine.
Our corporate responsibility (CR) strategy fundamentally supports the company mission and vision, with a focus on expanding access healthcare and doing business responsibly.
Our governance model for corporate responsibility remains unchanged, with corporate responsibility being ingrained at the highest levels of our company.The Governance, Nomination and Corporate Responsibilities Committee (GNCRC) of the Board of Directors oversees the company’s strategy and governance on CR topics that may affect the company’s business and reputation.
Consistent engagement with our increasingly complex range of stakeholders – who have diverse, sometimes conflicting, expectations on key CR issues – is one of our priorities. Throughout the year, our CR team, as well as the Novartis Foundation and Novartis Social Business pursue formal and informal interactions with various stakeholders, including patients and caregivers, associates, healthcare providers, policymakers, NGOs, shareholders and other financial market participants, local communities, and partners from the pharmaceutical and other industries.
To help define the most important corporate responsibility (CR) issues for our industry and for Novartis, we regularly conduct a CR materiality analysis to help us better understand those issues that matter most to our key internal and external stakeholders.
Consistent engagement with our increasingly complex range of stakeholders – who have diverse, sometimes conflicting, expectations on key CR issues – is one of our priorities.Throughout the year, our CR team, as well as the Novartis Foundation and Novartis Social Business pursue formal and informal interactions with various stakeholders, including patients and caregivers, associates, healthcare providers, policymakers, NGOs, shareholders and other financial market participants, local communities, and partners from the pharmaceutical and other industries.
We are continuing to work to expand access to healthcare through a variety of approaches that provide tailored and scalable solutions: social business initiatives, equitable commercial models, zero-profit models, patient assistance programs and drug donations. Our generics division, Sandoz, also helps make high-quality generic medicines and biosimilars available to more people.
We believe that we can be more systematic in implementing access strategy throughout our business. In 2017, we therefore established a set of Access Principles that clarify our approach to access. These will go into effect in 2018.
We believe innovation that produces breakthrough medicines, devices and solutions will be critical in the coming years as demographic trends increase pressure on healthcare systems to produce the best results at the lowest overall cost. Innovation is therefore a cornerstone of the Novartis strategy and a foundation of our future. Beyond research and development, we are using innovative approaches to reach more patients with our medicines, while leveraging innovative technology to help solve a variety of healthcare challenges. Innovation in its many forms supports our efforts to grow in emerging markets and around the world, and can help us respond to patients’ unmet medical needs in both the developed and developing worlds.
The health and safety of patients is at the very core of our mission. We cannot hope to find new ways to improve and extend people’s lives if we cannot assure the people who use these medicines that they are both effective and safe. Throughout the lifecycle of our medicines, we work to ensure the best balance of benefit and risk by having a variety of systems and processes in place for a continuous and systematic review of the data collected for all products in our portfolio, including those on the market and those that are still in development. We also work with patients to ensure they have a voice in how our products are developed.
We believe that ethical conduct results from a culture of integrity. Ours is built around a Code of Conduct that is a fundamental part of the terms of employment for all associates at Novartis Group companies. The code contains our principles and expectations for ethical business conduct. It guides the behavior of our employees and third parties acting on our behalf, helping them make the right decisions in difficult situations.
We must also respect and help protect human rights at all times, and help ensure that all of our third-party suppliers uphold the same set of standards.
As a company that is actively engaged in research and development, we also believe that certain activities that are essential to our success – including the use of new technologies and the use of animals in research – must be conducted in a transparent and ethical way.