According to the agreement signed by Prime Minister’s National Health Program Director Dr Faisal Rifaq and Novartis CEO Shahab Rizvi, the Health Ministry and Novartis will collaborate in the Novartis Access programme to provide access to a basket of high quality medicines to the poor suffering from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. These diseases are reported to kill a fifth of Pakistanis between the ages of 30 and 70 years every year.
The medicines to be made accessible under the programme are among the world’s most frequently prescribed medicines for the aforementioned chronic diseases.
In the pilot phase of the programme, Novartis Access medicines will be available through selected hospitals in Islamabad, and in over 20 selected districts across the country, said Health Secretary Mohammad Ayub Sheikh. He added that the programme is aimed to be extended to all districts of the country by the following year. Minister of State for Health Saira Afzal Tarar said that the government would make sure these drugs are available free of charge to patients under the programme.