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Novartis convenes 13th annual malaria expert panel with a focus on access to quality antimalarials across Africa

By Novartis AG
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DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, June 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ --

• Malaria experts and leaders meet to share innovative strategies in the fight against the disease

• There is a need for quality-assured antimalarial treatments in both the private and public sectors

• Half of patients in Africa buy antimalarials from the private sector(1) where wide availability of sub-standard treatment is putting patients' lives at risk(2)

Malaria experts from countries across Africa are meeting today at the 13th annual National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) Best Practice Sharing Workshop. The gathering provides a platform to discuss and share knowledge and experiences, and to drive dialogue around improved health outcomes and access to quality antimalarial treatments for patients in Africa. For these workshops, Novartis (http://www.novartis.com) works in collaboration with the Global Fund, World Health Organization, the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network, the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, US Pharmacopeia, Populations Services International, Ifakara Health Institute, and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/novartis.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1192 (Dr. Linus Igwemezie, Head of the Novartis Malaria Initiative)

“These NMCP meetings have led to groundbreaking projects such as the development of SMS for Life to improve antimalarial stock management in rural health facilities,” said Dr. Linus Igwemezie, Head of the Novartis Malaria Initiative (http://www.malaria.novartis.com). “We believe that by bringing together the best minds and leaders in the field, we can help foster new approaches that will help us ensure all patients have access to quality antimalarials and bring us closer to malaria elimination.”

The successful treatment of malaria depends on the public being informed about the risks of the disease, the importance of sleeping under insecticide treated bednets, and having access to health services including appropriate diagnostic tests and quality-assured antimalarial treatments.(3/page v) Unfortunately, in some countries bednet utilization remains a challenge;(3/page ix) while sub-standard antimalarials (3/page 9) and oral artemisinin monotherapies (3/page xii) remain available, primarily through the private sector. These treatments may contain too little or no active ingredient, thereby putting patients' lives at risk. (4/pages 22&49)

Speaking on behalf of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network, Dr. Ambrose Talisuna says: “It's crucial that governments take urgent action to ensure patients are not put at risk of sub-standard treatments. We must make sure that the public is made aware of the importance of taking preventative measures as well. The ongoing role of Novartis in facilitating these workshops provides a platform for discussing these important issues, for sharing best practice in public education and for mapping the sources of poor quality antimalarials.”

NMCP Best Practice Sharing Workshops

Since the first workshop in 2006, groundbreaking projects have emerged such as the SMS for Life program to support more efficient stock management in rural health facilities. Another key advance was the development of Coartem® Dispersible, the first Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) specifically tailored to infants and children, meeting the World Health Organization requirements for a pediatric antimalarial medicine and which was developed in collaboration with Medicines for Malaria Venture.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Novartis AG.

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Nadine Schecker

Novartis Malaria Initiative Communications

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Notes to editors

About the Novartis Malaria Initiative

The Novartis Malaria Initiative (http://www.malaria.novartis.com) is one of the largest access-to-medicine programs in the healthcare industry. Moving forward, Novartis is committed to working towards malaria elimination by driving the development of next-generation antimalarials, with two new classes of drugs currently in clinical development. The most advanced compound is in Phase II clinical trials. For more information, please visit: http://www.malaria.novartis.com

Disclaimer

The foregoing release contains certain forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as “to drive,” ”will,” “must,” “ongoing,” “committed,” or similar expressions. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Company regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results with Coartem or the new classes of antimalarial drugs currently in clinical development to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Management's expectations could be affected by, among other things, unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; unexpected clinical trial results, including unexpected new clinical data and unexpected additional analysis of existing clinical data; unexpected pacing of artemisinin resistance; the company's ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; competition in general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Novartis

Novartis (http://www.novartis.com) provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2013, the Group achieved net sales of USD 57.9 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 135,000 full-time-equivalent associates and sell products in more than 150 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

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References

1. AfDB, World Bank, DHS, Dalberg, ACT Forecasting Consortium

2. Malaria Journal 2014, 13:139 - Mind the gaps - the epidemiology of poor-quality anti-malarials in the malarious world - analysis of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network database - Patricia Tabernero123*, Facundo M Fernández4, Michael Green5, Philippe J Guerin12 and Paul N Newton1236

3. WHO World Malaria Report 2013.

4. WHO Global plan for artemisinin resistance containment (GPARC).