Novartis donates 130m doses of malaria drug to support Covid-19 response

Courtesy of Novartis

Novartis has committed to donate up to 130 million doses of generic anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to support the global Covid-19 pandemic response.

Hydroxychloroquine and a related drug, chloroquine, are currently under evaluation in clinical trials for the treatment of Covid-19. Novartis is supporting ongoing clinical trial efforts and will evaluate needs for additional clinical trials.

When supported for use in Covid-19 infected patients by regulatory authorities, Novartis intends to donate up to 130 million 200 mg doses by the end of May, including its current stock of 50 million 200 mg doses.

The company is also exploring further scaling of capacity to increase supply and is committed to working with manufacturers around the world to meet global demand.

Novartis Sandoz division currently only holds a registration for hydroxychloroquine in the U.S., and will pursue appropriate regulatory authorizations from the US FDA and the European Medicines Agency.

Novartis will work with stakeholders including the World Health Organization to determine the best distribution of the medicine to ensure broad access to patients most in need of this medicine globally. The company aims to ensure that patients currently depending on this medicine are not impacted by the donation.

This latest commitment follows a slew of measures launched by the drug maker in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This includes a $20 million Response Fund to support public health initiatives, and joining collaborative R&D efforts with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard -supported Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator and a partnership with the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

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