Integrating Innovation into Healthcare: Novartis
Milan Paleja, Country President, Novartis India speaks to Business Digest about Novartis's future plans:
Novartis is known for using science-based innovation to address the most challenging healthcare issues. Please share some of the innovations you have undertaken and their impact.
Novartis strategy is to use sciencebased innovation to deliver better patient outcomes in growing areas of healthcare. Examples we would like to share are treatment of heart failure, breast cancer and psoriasis with our innovative molecules, Vymada, Kryxana and Scapho, all of which were introduced in India soon after their global launch. We have succeeded in getting access to these innovative molecules to an increasing number of patients. Our aim is to increase access to our new medicines by finding new ways to deliver them.
Private sector has been leading the healthcare industry for decades, however, the government with its new initiatives such as 'Ayushman Bharat' is making headway in the sector. In such a scenario, how do you perceive the role of private sector in the future?
At Novartis we focus on patients in both the private and public sectors. We are very pleased with the government for taking health as a priority and putting in place the National Health Protection Mission (NHPM). We are keen to partner with various stakeholders to address the needs of patients through NHPM. While NHPM is currently restricted to hospitalisation, we hope that it will widen its scope to cover chronic diseases in the coming years.
India faces immense issues while providing healthcare services to its burgeoning population. How does Novartis propose to fulfill its commitment to patients and caregivers?
At Novartis we have a strong commitment to patients and caregivers through our tailored access solutions including managed access programmes offering patients access to our innovative medicines that are not available in India. Our offerings include India pricing for our innovative drugs, full donation programmes, co-pay programmes and patient support programmes including counselling. We also educate caregivers on management of chronic diseases leading to better care of the patient. We have a wellestablished social business programme called Arogya Parivar, which has been in existence for over 10 years, serving rural India across 11 states. In 2017 alone, Arogya Parivar touched the lives of 7.4 million people through close to 150,000 health education meetings and 9,000 health camps. In addition, over the last two years we have conducted more than 12,000 scientific engagements for and with the medical community to further augment their scientific knowledge, enabling them to extend the benefits of our product portfolio.
Novartis is also known for its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Please highlight some of the organisation's work in this area.
Novartis is committed to bringing its medicines to more and more people. For all our new medicines, Novartis has committed to integrate strategies in how we research, develop and deliver these medicines worldwide. Some examples of our CSR work are:
Ÿ Since 2000, Novartis has been donating the world's supply of leprosy drugs via WHO. India, with around 60 per cent of the world's case load, is the largest recipient. Ÿ Together with Novartis Foundation we have partnered with the Netherlands Leprosy Relief for a leprosy postexposure prophylaxis project to stop the transmission of leprosy. Ÿ Novartis India together with Novartis Foundation is working on a digital tool to enable independent early screening for leprosy using artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning.
Ÿ Since 2002, Novartis India has provided patients suffering from chronic myeloid leukemia and gastro-intestinal tumours with innovative drug Glivec completely free of charge. Currently, more than 16,000 patients have received the drug absolutely free.
With the advent of new technologies, as the Country President what are your expansion plans for Novartis in the next decade?
We, at Novartis, believe that data and digitalisation are going to shape the future of how healthcare will benefit lives of patients. Therefore, as an organisation we are invested in bringing about an attitudinal shift by driving digital adoption both internally and externally. Since 2013, we have been constantly investing in building a digital ecosystem. We are upskilling our associates to leverage the widespread digital transformation taking place across industry and markets. We are also exploring the use of smartphones to improve disease management and to collate information to develop real world evidence (RWE).