Novartis to provide ‘no-profit’ generics to low income countries to help combat COVID-19

pharmafile | July 16, 2020 | News story | Business Services COVID-19, Novartis, coronavirus, hydroxychloroquine 

The Sandoz division of Novartis will not make a profit on the 15 generics it is making available to developing nations to help them deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes medicines that will range from steroids to antibiotics and diarrhea pills, which will be distributed to 79 countries the World Bank lists as low to lower-middle income.  The company said it is doing this to help keep vulnerable healthcare systems in Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe from becoming overloaded.

Lutz Hegemann, the Chief Operating Officer at Novartis, said: “We shouldn’t underestimate the stress that COVID puts particularly on fragile health systems. We are not targeting classical commercial distribution channels, but very direct channels, to influence that to the extent we can.”

However, the company’s hydroxychloroquine generic will not be included after some clinical trials investigating its effectiveness in treating COVID-19 concluded it did not work or/and was possibly dangerous. The FDA recently revoked its Emergency Use Authorisation, but Novartis continues to provide it for trials at various world governments request.

Conor Kavanagh

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