Novartis has continued its tuberculosis (TB) drug donation to Tanzania by donating $6 million which aims to treat 60,000 patients per year. The pharmaceutical company has already delivered nearly 250,000 TB treatments to Tanzania since 2005 and have committed to delivering a further 250,000 over the next three years.
The highly infectious disease claims nearly two million victims a year in developing countries such as Tanzania and its complexity to treat has made it difficult to reduce those numbers.
However, at a meeting with President Kitwete, Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis and TB Klaus M Leisinger, President and CEO of Novartis, expressed their commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding. Dr Vasella said, “Addressing the health problems of the developing world is complex and challenging. No single player can be successful. To make a meaningful and sustainable impact for patients in the developing world, governments, international institutions, industry, and civil society must join forces.”
Novartis also aims to implement Directly Observed Therapy Short Courses (DOTS), the World Health Organisation’s recommended treatment for TB, which requires patients to take their medicines under direct daily observation by a medical professional. This approach gives patients the option of being treated at a health facility or a home by a family member.
As well as the work done in Tanzania, Novartis have also begun conducting research in Singapore in order to develop a novel treatment against multi-drug resistant TB with hopes to reduce the duration of long treatment.