Govt partners Swiss Pharmaceutical firm

By ZBC Reporter
The Ministry of Health and Child Care has entered into a partnership with a Swiss Pharmaceuticals group, Novartis, that will see the country accessing drugs for Non-Communicable Diseases for a fraction of the normal cost.
An International Pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland, Novartis group has partnered the government of Zimbabwe in a project that will see the country accessing medicines for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) for a dollar a month per person, thus improving access of drugs at nominal fees.
The country is battling to address a growing trend of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension and various cancers whose prevalence is affecting a number of communities. Patients are going to access medicines at low cost.
The first consignment of medicines is expected to arrive within two months under the special programme where Zimbabwe is one of the pilot recipients.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Health and the pharmaceutical company was signed in May last year in Switzerland during the World Health Assembly.
The issue of access to medicines is a critical issue for African countries and for Zimbabwe which has been grappling with shortages and high costs of medicines. We appreciate Novartis for helping our health care system. Citizens can now access medicines at a low cost. For instance, where one would get medicines at USD$20 per package, now they will just have to pay USD$1,” said Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Moyo.
Explaining the rationale behind the decision, a Novartis representative, expressed hope that the deal will materialise.
“I am happy and would like this partnership to move forward in a way to offer medicines and improve care to patients in Zimbabwe,” said Novartis Head of Southern Africa, Mr Vincent Rossignol.
The disease burden from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is on the increase in the country, while cost-effective medicines to treat NCDs are unaffordable to many.
Novartis International is a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company and is one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies by both market capitalisation and sales.