Novartis Access and Government of Uganda Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Novartis reaches agreement with Uganda to supply medicines that address the rapid rise of chronic diseases in the country. Uganda becomes the fifth country to launch the Novartis Access program.
Jul 6, 2017 6:15 AM ET
Press Release

July 6, 2017 /3BL Media/ -- We are pleased to announce that Novartis and the Ministry of Health of Uganda have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement Novartis Access in Uganda. Novartis Access medicines will be made available to patients in public health facilities through the National Medical Stores and through faith-based health services. The program will also cover capacity-building activities, including NCD prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Novartis Access provides a portfolio of high-quality medicines targeting four key noncommunicable disease areas (NCDs): cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. These treatments are among the world’s most frequently prescribed medicines for chronic diseases. All treatments in the basket will be made available to the public sector at the cost of USD 1 dollar per treatment per month (ex-factory price).

Uganda is highly impacted by NCDs. Ugandans are twice as likely to have diabetes today as they were twenty years ago1 while cases of hypertension have increased by 42%2 in just three years. Cardiovascular diseases, which were almost non-existent among the Ugandan population, now account for 9%3 of deaths in the country, more than any other NCD. Combined, NCDs now account for 27%3 of deaths in Uganda.

The government of Uganda is committed to making Novartis Access medicines available free of charge to patients in public health facilities. In order to complement the Government’s efforts, the products will also be made available at an affordable price through the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau health facilities and other faith-based organizations in the country.

Uganda becomes the fifth country (after Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Pakistan) to launch Novartis Access. First treatment deliveries are planned at the end of 2017.


“The MoU with Novartis will help to accelerate and scale up the national response to the NCD epidemic. A key strategic priority for Uganda is to strengthen a multi-sectoral approach to prevent and control NCDs and their risk factors. The memorandum of understanding signed with Novartis Access supports such a collaborative approach. The public should take full advantage of this initiative for access to medicines and embrace early checks and diagnosis in order to fully benefit from early treatment of NCDs. This will lead to better disease management and more favorable treatment outcomes.”

Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary of the Uganda Ministry of Health

“Uganda is severely affected by the growth of chronic diseases, and having access to high-quality treatments at low cost is a critical part of our work to lessen the impact of chronic disease in the country. “The Ministry of Health of Uganda has established a national NCD strategy to coordinate efforts toward NCD prevention and control. We welcome this program to the country as it will enable Ugandan patients to access affordable medicines and also benefit from early diagnosis, which is essential to manage chronic diseases.”

Joshua Wamboga, Executive Director for the Uganda Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (UAPO) and chair elect, International Alliance of Patients' Organizations (IAPO)

“Novartis Access has been designed to help governments in lower-income countries improve access to treatments against noncommunicable diseases for their poorest population. New approaches that bring governments, the private sector and the social sector together are critical to expanding access to medicines and healthcare delivery in emerging economies such as Uganda.”

Dr. Harald Nusser, Head of Novartis Social Business

“Novartis Access will complement the efforts of the Ugandan government to improve access to NCD treatments for patients in need. We believe this program will optimize NCD treatment in the public sector, leading to improved clinical outcomes.”

Dr. Nathan Mulure, Head Novartis Social Business, East Africa.


Novartis Access includes 15 generic and patented medicines to address cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. The portfolio is offered to governments, NGOs and other public-sector healthcare providers in low and lower middle income countries for USD 1 per treatment, per month*. The medicines in the portfolio have been selected based on their medical relevance: they are either on or pertain to a class included in the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, or belong to the most frequently prescribed medicines in these disease areas. Novartis Access launched in Kenya in 2015 and we strive to reach 30 countries over the coming years depending on government and stakeholder demand. Novartis Access is the latest addition to our company’s efforts to enhance access to healthcare for patients at every level of income.

* The USD 1 price does not include costs for freight, insurance and potential taxes. 



  1. Parliamentarians pledge to raise awareness of noncommunicable diseases, Ministry of Health of Uganda:

  2. Burden of non-communicable diseases on the rise, WHO, regional office for Africa:

  3. World Health Organization, “Noncommunicable diseases, Uganda country profile”, 2014:

Novartis Global Media Relations