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Novartis Scraps Fees of Covid-19 Drugs for Developing Countries

July 17, 2020, 12.04 AM

ZURICH, – Switzerland’s drugmaker Novartis’ Sandoz division will not charge developing countries any fees for the company’s 15 generic drugs.

The Novartis drugs will be made available in low-income countries to treat symptoms of Covid-19.

Novartis has stated that this decision will last for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s pledge is to provide antibiotics, steroids, and diarrhea pills to 79 countries listed on the World Bank’s low- and lower-middle-income nations.

Read also: Indonesia Eyes Local Covid-19 Vaccine Mass Production by Mid-2021

Novartis’ effort has garnered the attention of non-governmental organization (NGO Doctors Without Borders, that called for greater transparency on drug pricing.

The NGO additionally called the industry to follow Novartis’ “no profiteering” initiatives for new Covid-19 medicines.

Novartis has stated that its supply chain for the production of the medicines to treat symptoms of Covid-19 has not been disrupted.

The company’s Global Health Chief Operating Officer, Lutz Hegemann, told Reuters that Novartis’ program strived to help vulnerable healthcare systems in Africa, Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe from being overloaded.

Read also: Indonesia Seeks Partners for Coronavirus Vaccine Production

"We shouldn't underestimate the stress that Covid-19 puts particularly on fragile health systems," Hegemann said.

Hegemann added that Novartis hoped to work with health authorities, faith-based organizations, and NGOs to eliminate big mark-ups.

"We are not targeting classical commercial distribution channels, but very direct channels."

Novartis' brand-name drugs have had little application in treating the new coronavirus, while its older malaria drug hydroxychloroquine has flopped in some scientific trials against the disease.

But Sandoz generics are among medicines commonly used to treat symptoms of those hospitalized.


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