Novartis, health ministry sign MOU on affordable Covid medicines

December 5, 2021 | 07:00 pm PT
Novartis and Vietnam's Ministry of Health signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide at-cost medicines to treat Covid patients.

At Switzerland-Vietnam Business Summit in Bern, Switzerland, on behalf of Novartis International AG, Lutz Hegemann, group head, Corporate Affairs and Global Health, and Associate Professor., PhD. Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the Department of Medical Service Administration, Ministry of Health of Vietnam, signed and handed over the MoU to the Ministry of Health.

The President of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and the President of Switzerland, Guy Parmelin, witnessed the MoU signing during President Phuc’s visit to Switzerland from Nov. 26-28 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Representative of Novartis (right) and Vietnam MoU (left) signed the MoU. Photo by Novartis

Representatives of Novartis (R) and Vietnam MoU (L) at the signing ceremony. Photo by Novartis

The MoU is a part of a broad range of solutions Novartis is providing to help low- and lower-middle-income countries (LICs & LMICs) mitigate the impact of the pandemic and support healthcare systems. It covers provision of at-cost medicines for the treatment of severe symptoms of Covid-19, while enhancing access to medicines in the areas of registration, reimbursement and procurement.

Under medicines, the Novartis Covid-19 Pandemic Response Portfolio encompasses 15 stock-keeping units (SKUs) for the treatment of Covid-19 in its various stages. Expected to be available in Vietnam in the near future, the portfolio aims to ensure the continuous supply of Covid-19 medicines, enhance patient access to innovative medicines, along with flexible adaptation to Covid-19 to recover the economy.

The MoU created a collaboration framework for the Novartis Covid-19 Pandemic Response Portfolio in Vietnam. It provides additional support to the Novartis access portfolio in the country (on- and off-patent medicines against key non-communicable diseases) via local Novartis affiliates.

Amitabh Dube, country president, Novartis Vietnam, said: "This MoU shows our effort to promote access pricing for essential drugs used to treat patients infected with Covid-19. During Covid-19, access to medicines can be a challenge for patients in low- and lower-middle-income countries, including Vietnam. Through the Covid-19 portfolio, we expect to help address growing local medication demands, thus helping improve access to innovative medicines, and save more lives."

"The MoU demonstrates Novartis's commitment to be a trusted partner of governments, world-wide organizations in strengthening healthcare systems, improving patient treatment outcomes, and pioneering innovative solutions through digital transformation."

Switzerland-Vietnam Business Summit in Bern, Switzerland. Photo by Novartis

Switzerland-Vietnam Business Summit in Bern, Switzerland. Photo by Novartis

The Covid-19 Pandemic Response Portfolio is Novartis's latest contribution to Vietnam's efforts to combat the pandemic and support the stability of the local healthcare systems. The company plans to provide affordable, high-quality generic medicines and biosimilars through its Sandoz division while supporting patients affected by the pandemic by ensuring uninterrupted access to medicines supply.

Accompanying the healthcare sector in this development path, Novartis commits to advocating for policies and capability development to support Vietnam's move up the value chain. These include improving the environment for the value of innovation, clinical trials, speeding up registration, reimbursement timelines, and attractiveness for localization and localized projects.

Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people's lives. As a leading global pharmaceutical enterprise, the company uses innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need, consistently ranking among the world's top companies investing in research and development.

Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally. About 110,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world.

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