Novartis increases impact on R&D, PH economy | Inquirer Business
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Novartis increases impact on R&D, PH economy

/ 11:54 AM December 07, 2020

As a leading global medicines company, Novartis is playing a major role in boosting Philippine economy, contributing P8 billion to the country’s GDP in 2019 alone.

“The pharmaceutical industry is an important source of growth and competitiveness in countries like the Philippines. We at Novartis strive every day to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines. This research and innovation results in more jobs, scientific capacity, as well as growing economic outputs. Our work also ensures that patients across the country and elsewhere around the world are benefiting from our innovative medicines,” said Jugo Tsumura, President and Managing Director of Novartis Healthcare Philippines.

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To measure its social and environmental impact on society, in addition to its economic value, the Switzerland-based company explained that it utilizes what it termed as financial, environmental and social or FES impact evaluation. Using the FES, the company reported that in 2019 alone, its contribution to the country’s GDP was P8 billion while at the same time created a total of 9,517 local jobs, including the employment of 488 Filipino associates.

On the average, this translates to almost 20 jobs created for every directly hired employee, the company explained.

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Christine Fajardo, Novartis Philippines country corporate affairs head, added that Novartis has continued providing employment to Filipinos, as well as regional leadership exposure to local talents. “Through the Next Generation Scientist program, Novartis has helped to upskill local scientists to support the research and development ecosystem in the country. We have also introduced omni-channel medical engagement to keep our associates and healthcare professionals safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As a research-driven healthcare company, Novartis is also consistently ranked among the world’s biggest investors in research and development.

The company’s R&D intensity—the proportion of R&D spending to direct GDP contribution—in the Philippines in 2019 alone was 4 percent, exceeding the European Union target of 3 percent.

“This is because Novartis has established Centers of Excellence for clinical trials in hospitals and research institutes, and has active recruiting trials in cardiovascular medicine, immunology and dermatology, respiratory, neurology, nephrology, ophthalmology and oncology,” added Ms Fajardo.

Investing in clinical trials

Novartis’ strong commitment to R&D is seen in its investment of over P104 million ($1.97 million) in clinical trials. Additionally, the company has collaborated with Asian Eye Institute to generate local health economics and outcomes research and real-world evidence to help enhance treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis.

Likewise, Novartis last year, was able to bring in close to P5.2 billion worth in social impact through its products and human capital measured through GDP contribution of healthier people and living wage, training and safety respectively. Of this amount, P4.6 billion was attributed to Novartis’ products, and P615 million to human capital.

“We have also collaborated with key stakeholders in various fields of expertise like strengthening local health systems through establishing Heart Failure Clinics, Service Delivery Network, Universal Health Care Forums and hospital CEO Forums. Our partnership with Collaboration to Preserve Sight aims to address blindness and vision impairment among Filipinos through patient education and vision screening,” Ms Fajardo shared.

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In dealing with the ongoing pandemic, Novartis’ co-created the Progressive Alliance Towards Healthy Workplaces (PATHw) to promote healthier workplaces and behaviors. For all these efforts, Novartis has received Special Recognition for Commitment to Leadership from Aon Best Employers program, a Special citation from the DOH and Office of the President for contribution to nationwide COVID-19 response, Outstanding Healthy Lifestyle Advocacy Award from the DOH, and the Agora Award for Outstanding Achievement in Advocacy Marketing by Philippine Marketing Association.

“Novartis will continue to play a vital part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other health issues by supplying life-saving medicines. The improved health status of a nation’s citizens is vital to economic growth and development,” Tsumura concludes.

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