Novartis to provide COVID-19 drugs to low-income countries

Novartis said July 16 it is creating a nonprofit initiative to provide 15 generic and over-the-counter drugs that could treat COVID-19 symptoms to low- and lower-middle income countries. 

The drugs will be sold at zero profit to governments in up to 79 eligible countries until a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is available. To be eligible, countries have to be on the World Bank's list of low-income of lower-middle income countries. 

Novartis will supply the following drugs: 

  • Amoxicillin
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Clarithromycin
  • Colchicine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Dobutamine
  • Fluconazole
  • Heparin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Loperamide
  • Pantoprazole
  • Prednisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Salbutamol
  • Vancomycin

The drugs were chosen based on clinical relevance and availability to make sure demand can be met globally. Participating countries can choose which medicines to receive. 

Novartis said it started the initiative because the COVID-19 pandemic has placed extreme pressure on healthcare systems in low- and lower middle-income countries. 

"The COVID-19 response portfolio for low-income and lower-middle-income countries is designed to support governments in treating COVID-19 symptoms before they lead to complications in patients," said Richard Saynor, president of Novartis' Sandoz unit. 

Read the full news release here


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