islamabad - Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination on Thursday signed an agreement with a multinational company to provide free OPD medicines for chronic diseases.

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The agreement will help the patients benefiting from Prime Minister’s National Health Programme. 

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with a multinational healthcare company Novartis to help the deserving gain an access to the treatment of chronic diseases.

Under the accord, the health ministry and Novartis will partner in the delivery of a programme called Novartis Access. In the pilot phase, Novartis Access medicines would be available through selected empanelled hospitals of Islamabad under the Prime Minister’s National Health Programme.

The aim is to extend the programme to all districts covered under the Prime Minister’s National Health Programme over time. Work has already started in this regard.

This programme will provide access to a basket of high-quality medicines in the public sector targeting four key non-communicable diseases – cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer.

These diseases become the reason of one-fifth of the total annual deaths, between the ages of 30 to 70 years, annually.

Products within the Novartis Access portfolio are among the world’s most frequently prescribed medicines for the targeted chronic diseases.

Speaking on the occasion,  Minister of State for Health Saira Afzal Tarar said Pakistan is grievously affected by the growth of non-communicable diseases and having access to high-quality treatment at low cost is a critical part of our work to lessen the impact of chronic diseases in the country.

“It is part of the prime minister’s ambitious plans to make Pakistan a true welfare state,” she said.

The MoU was signed on behalf of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination by Prime Minister’s National Health Programme Director Dr Faisal Rifaq and Novartis CEO Shahab Rizvi.