Friday, April 13, 2007

Transforming Global Health: Neil Ryder, Exec. Director of Infectious Diseases, Novartis NIBR

Dr. Ryder covered how Novartis is making a difference in Global Health. Among the highlights, he covered where the company is dedicated substantial R&D in centers around the world. They divide their initiatives in two:
  • Finding new pharmacological agents
  • Working towards sustainable developments
In addition to their center in Italy that focuses on vaccines including malaria using genomics, they have a new center in Signapore: The Novartis Instiute for Tropical Diseases has major projects centered around TB and Malaria. In addition to local R&D, the center trains young scientists and has access to the full array of resources at Novartis.

The Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development is Novartis's formal corporate social responsibility instrument. The usual suspects here: free drugs, access to malaria drugs, and something that I found interesting: Artemisia cultivation in Africa, the base for Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies for Malaria.

In addition, leprosy remains a major cause. Since 1995, incidence of leprosy has declined 90%. They have introduced simplified multi drug therapy. The foundation dedicates a lot of resouces towards educational marketing campaigns to battle the stigma of leprosy. Despite best intention and available treatment, many people are too ashamed to come forward for treatment.

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