October 2, 2019

Novartis processes information of its business partners (in this context Health Care Professionals) which constitutes “personal data” and considers the protection of personal data and privacy a very important matter.

Novartis Pharma AG is responsible for the processing of your personal data as it decides why and how it is processed, thereby acting as the “controller”. It may exercise this responsibility alone or jointly with other companies in the Novartis group, acting as “co-controller(s)”. In this Privacy Notice, “we” or “us” refers to Novartis Pharma AG.

What information do we have about you?

Information Novartis may have about you may either be directly provided by you, by our business partners (i.e. the legal entity for whom you work), by third parties (e.g. external vendors or medical agencies) or be obtained through trusted publicly available sources (such as PubMed, Clinical Trials.gov, congress websites or university websites). We may collect various types of personal data about you, including:

  • your general and identification information (e.g. name, first name, last name, gender, email and/or postal address, fixed and/or mobile phone number);
  • your function (e.g. title, position, name of company, as well as, for healthcare professionals, first specialty, second specialty, year of graduation from medical school, publications, congress activities, awards, biography, education, links to universities, expertise and participation in/contribution to clinical trials, guidelines, editorial boards and organizations);
  • payment information (e.g. credit card details, bank account details, VAT or other tax identification number); 
  • Novartis unique business partner ID and profile; 
  • your electronic identification data where required for the purpose of delivering products or services to our company (e.g. login, access right, passwords, badge number, IP address, online identifiers/cookies, logs, access and connection times, image recording or sound such as badge pictures, CCTV or voice recordings); 
  • information regarding your utilization, responses and/or preferences including in terms of types of messages discussed, channels of communication and frequency; 
  • data which relate to our products and services; and 
  • information about the scientific and medical activities/interactions you have with us, including potential future interactions.

If you intend to provide us with personal data about other individuals (e.g. your colleagues), you must provide a copy of this Privacy Notice to the relevant individuals, directly or through their employer.

For which purposes do we use your personal data and why is this justified?

Legal basis for the processing

We will not process personal data, Novartis may have about you if we do not have a proper justification foreseen in the law for that purpose. Therefore, we will only process your personal data if:

  • we have obtained your prior consent;
  • the processing is necessary to perform our contractual obligations towards you or to take pre-contractual steps at your request;
  • the processing is necessary to comply with our legal or regulatory obligations; or 
  • the processing is necessary for our legitimate interests and does not unduly affect your interests or fundamental rights and freedoms

Please note that, when processing your personal data on this last basis, we always seek to maintain a balance between our legitimate interests and your privacy.

Examples of such ‘legitimate interests’ are data processing activities performed:

  • to develop a proximity and trustful professional relationship with health care professionals; 
  • to provide knowledge to the health care professionals about Novartis medicines and scientific developments;
  • to promote innovation in the pharmaceutical field; 
  • to manage Novartis human and financial resources and optimize the interactions with health care professionals; 
  • to ensure that the right medicine according to a well-informed HCP’s technical and professional opinion reaches the patient; 
  • to benefit from cost-effective services (e.g. we may opt to use certain platforms offered by suppliers to process data); 
  • to offer our products and services to our customers; 
  • to prevent fraud or criminal activity, misuses of our products or services as well as the security of our IT systems, architecture and networks;
  • to sell any part of our business or its assets or to enable the acquisition of all or part of our business or assets by a third party; and 
  • to meet our corporate and social responsibility objectives.

You can obtain further information on the balancing test of the above specific interests upon an express request to Novartis; 

Purposes of the processing

We always process your personal data for a specific purpose and only process the personal data, which is relevant to achieve that purpose. In particular, we process the personal data we may have about you for the following purposes :

  • manage our relationship with you (e.g. through our databases); 
  • implement tasks in preparation of or to perform existing contracts; 
  • evidence transactions and ensuring transparency on transfer of value; 
  • provide you with appropriate, adequate and updated information about diseases, drugs as well as our products and services; 
  • improve the quality of our interactions and services by adapting our offering to your specific needs; 
  • answer your requests and provide you with efficient support;  send you surveys (e.g. to help us improve your future interactions with us);
  • send you communications regarding products, therapeutic areas or services that we promote; 
  • manage, plan and execute communications and interactions with you (e.g. through the operation of a database keeping records of interactions with healthcare professionals or managing call planning as well as call reporting); 
  • track our activities (e.g. measuring interactions or sales, number of appointments/calls); 
  • invite you to events or promotional meetings sponsored by us (e.g. medical events, speaker events, conferences); 
  • grant you access to our training modules allowing you to provide us with certain services; 
  • manage our IT resources, including infrastructure management and business continuity; 
  • preserve the company’s economic interests and ensure compliance and reporting (such as complying with our policies and local legal requirements, tax deductions, managing alleged cases of misconduct or fraud; conducting audits and defending litigation);
  • manage mergers and acquisitions involving our company; 
  • archiving and record keeping; 
  • billing and invoicing; and 
  • any other purposes imposed by law and authorities.

Who has access to your personal data and to whom are they transferred?

In the course of our activities and for the same purposes as those listed in this Privacy Notice, your personal data maybe accessed by or transferred to the following categories of recipients, on a need to know basis to achieve such purposes:

  • our personnel (including personnel, departments or other companies of the Novartis group); 
  • our independent agents or brokers (if any); 
  • our suppliers and services providers that provide services and products to us;
  • our IT systems providers, cloud service providers, database providers and consultants; 
  • our business partners who offer products or services jointly with us or with our subsidiaries or affiliates; 
  • any third party to whom we assign or novate any of our rights or obligations.

The above third parties are contractually obliged to protect the confidentiality and security of your personal data, in compliance with applicable law. 

Your personal data can also be accessed by or transferred to any national and/or international regulatory, enforcement, public body or court, where we are required to do so by applicable law or regulation or at their request. 

The personal data we collect from you may also be processed, accessed or stored in a country outside the country where Novartis Pharma AG is located, which may not offer the same level of protection of personal data. 

If we transfer your personal data to external companies in other jurisdictions, we will make sure to protect your personal data by (i) applying the level of protection required under the data protection/privacy laws applicable to Novartis AG, (ii) acting in accordance with our policies and standards and, (iii) for Novartis AG located in the European Economic Area (i.e. the EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, the "EEA"), unless otherwise specified, only transferring your personal data on the basis of standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission or the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner respectively.

For intra-group transfers of personal data to our group companies, the Novartis Group has adopted Binding Corporate Rules, a system of principles, rules and tools, provided by European law, in an effort to ensure effective levels of data protection relating to transfers of personal data outside the EEA and Switzerland. Read more about the Novartis Binding Corporate Rules here.

How do we protect your personal data?

We have implemented appropriate technical and organizational measures to provide an adequate level of security and confidentiality to your personal data. 

These measures take into account:

  • the state of the art of the technology;
  • the costs of its implementation;
  • the nature of the data; and
  • the risk of the processing.

The purpose thereof is to protect it against accidental or unlawful destruction or alteration, accidental loss, unauthorized disclosure or access and against other unlawful forms of processing.

Moreover, when handling your personal data, we:

  • only collect and process personal data which is adequate, relevant and not excessive, as required to meet the above purposes; and
  • may request you to confirm the personal data we hold about you. You are also invited to spontaneously inform us whenever there is a change in your personal circumstances so we can ensure your personal data is kept up-to-date.

How long do we store your personal data?

We will only retain personal data we may have about you for as long as necessary to fulfil the purpose for which it was collected or to comply with legal or regulatory requirements.

What are your rights and how can you exercise them?

You may exercise the following rights under the conditions and within the limits set forth in the law:

  • the right to access your personal data as processed by us and, if you believe that any information relating to you is incorrect, obsolete or incomplete, to request its correction or updating;
  • the right to request the erasure of your personal data or the restriction thereof to specific categories of processing;
  • the right to object, in whole or in part, to the processing of your personal data;
  • the right to object to a channel of communication used for direct marketing purposes; and
  • the right to request its portability, i.e. that the personal data you have provided to us be returned to you or transferred to the person of your choice, in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format without hindrance from us and subject to your confidentiality obligations.

If you have a question or want to exercise the above rights, please click here.

How will you be informed of the changes to our Privacy Notice?

Any future changes or additions to the processing of your personal data as described in this Privacy Notice will be notified to you in advance through an individual notice or through our usual communication channels (e.g. by email or via our internet websites).