Novartis Access and Government of Pakistan Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Novartis reaches agreement with Pakistan to supply medicines that address the rapid rise of chronic illness among poor people in the world's sixth most populous nation.
May 12, 2017 11:10 AM ET

May 12, 2017 /3BL Media/ -- We are pleased to announce that Novartis and the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement Novartis Access in Pakistan. Novartis Access medicines will be made available to the poorest population through hospitals under the Prime Minister’s National Health Insurance Program.

Novartis Access provides a portfolio of high-quality medicines targeting four key noncommunicable disease areas (NCDs): cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. These treatments are among the world’s most frequently prescribed medicines for chronic diseases.

Pakistan is among the countries most impacted by NCDs in the world. It is facing rising rates of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other NCDs, which are disproportionately affecting poor families. Chronic diseases currently account for 59% of the total disease burden in Pakistan1 and it is estimated that NCDs kill one-fifth of Pakistanis between the ages of 30 and 70 every year2.

Pakistan becomes the fourth country (after Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda) to launch Novartis Access. First treatment deliveries are planned in early 2018.

 “Novartis Access has been designed to help governments in lower-income countries improve access to treatments against noncommunicable diseases for their poorest population. We are pleased to help Pakistani patients better manage their chronic condition through this program. We believe new approaches that bring governments, the private sector and social sector together are needed to expand access to medicines and healthcare delivery.”

Dr. Harald Nusser, Head of Novartis Social Business

“I am very pleased over the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding with Novartis. Pakistan is grievously affected by the growth of non communicable diseases, and having access to high-quality treatment at low cost is a critical part of our work to lessen the impact of chronic disease in Pakistan. It is part of the Prime Minister’s ambitious plans to make Pakistan a true welfare state.”

Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar, Minister for National Health Services Regulations and Coordination


Novartis Access includes 15 generic and patented medicines to address cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. The portfolio is offered to governments, NGOs and other public-sector healthcare providers in low and lower middle income countries for USD 1 per treatment, per month*. The medicines in the portfolio have been selected based on their medical relevance: they are either on or pertain to a class included in the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, or belong to the most frequently prescribed medicines in these disease areas. Novartis Access launched in Kenya in 2015 and we strive to reach 30 countries over the coming years depending on government and stakeholder demand. Novartis Access is the latest addition to our company’s efforts to enhance access to healthcare for patients at every level of income.

* The USD 1 price does not include costs for freight, insurance and potential taxes. 


  • For more information, see the media release by the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Government of Pakistan:  


  1. Engelgau MM, El-Saharty S, Kudesia P. Capitalizing on the Demographic Transition: Tackling Noncommunicable Diseases in South Asia. World Bank. Washington DC, 2010
  2. World Health Organization, “Noncommunicable diseases, Pakistan country profile”, 2014: