20 July 2020 - Deborah Wilkes
Novartis has launched a “not-for-profit” portfolio of generic and OTC medicines for symptomatic treatment of COVID-19.
The Swiss pharmaceutical company said the portfolio of 15 medicines from its Sandoz division addressed “urgent unmet needs of low-income and lower-middle-income countries to treat patients with COVID-19”.
The 15 medicines are for gastrointestinal illness, acute respiratory symptoms, pneumonia and septic shock. They include amoxicillin, ceftriaxone, clarithromycin, colchicine, dexamethasone, dobutamine, fluconazole, heparin, levofloxacin, loperamide, pantoprazole, prednisone, prednisolone, salbutamol and vancomycin.
Novartis said the portfolio would be sold at “zero profit” to governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other institutional customers in up to 79 eligible countries “during the pandemic and until a vaccine or curative treatment is available”.
The initiative, commented Novartis, would “help patients in low-income and lower-middle-income countries access affordable medicines to treat the major symptoms of COVID-19”.
“Inflammation and respiratory problems linked to COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and can lead to death in some people, putting immense strain on fragile healthcare systems,” added the company.
Richard Saynor, chief executive officer of Sandoz, said the initiative built on the company’s earlier global commitment to keep prices stable for a basket of essential drugs used to treat COVID-19 patients.