The provincial government of Punjab in Pakistan has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to launch Novartis Access for poor patients with chronic diseases.

With the roll out, poor people in the province will have free and easy access to high-quality medicines from the Novartis Access portfolio that target four major non-communicable disease areas (NCDs), cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses and breast cancer.

Additionally, the scope of the agreement includes the implementation of latest software that would be used to track and monitor individual patient access and adherence.

The current deal is part of an ongoing programme designed to transform the treatment of NCDs and other diseases in Punjab. It focuses on offering quality care in the areas of preventive care, primary and secondary healthcare, drug control and institutional reforms.

Novartis Social Business head Dr Harald Nusser said: “Novartis Access has been designed to help governments in lower-income countries improve access to treatments for NCDs for the poorest populations.

“Novartis Access has been designed to help governments in lower-income countries improve access to treatments for NCDs for the poorest populations.”

“Our key goal is to help patients in Punjab better manage their chronic condition with this programme. We believe new approaches that bring governments and the private sector together are needed to expand access to medicines and healthcare delivery.”

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In May this year, Novartis signed a MoU with Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services to make Novartis Access therapies available to the patients through the Prime Minister’s National Health Insurance programme.

The company is currently collaborating with other provincial governments in the country to further expand Novartis Access.

The Punjab health department recently signed a deal with Novartis Pharma Pakistan to provide treatment to cancer patients in the province.

Being the first country in Asia to introduce Novartis Access, Pakistan has planned the first deliveries of medicines to the Punjab province in early next year.

In addition, the programme will include the deployment of an offspring of the Novartis SMS for Life digital platform that will use biometric data to create a registry to help track patient access and adherence.

The anonymised data generated by the system will inform both the government and the company about disease prevalence, treatment availability and patient outreach.