A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers is the first to use a randomized trial design to generate rigorous evidence on the impact of a pharmaceutical industry-led medicines access program.
The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, evaluated Novartis Access, a Novartis Social Business program in Kenya, which offers a portfolio of non-communicable disease (NCD) medicines at a wholesale price of US$1 per treatment per month.
“It is our hope that the evidence generated by this study will inform Novartis’ efforts to improve their program going forward,” says study lead author Dr. Peter Rockers, assistant professor of global health at BUSPH. “The study also contributes to the public evidence base on strategies for improving access to medicines globally. Rigorous measurement and transparent reporting should be standard for all pharmaceutical industry efforts to improve access.”
For the current study, supported by Novartis, the researchers evaluated the effect of the first 15 months of Novartis Access in Kenya, the first country to see the program rolled out. In addition to being the first experimental evaluation of a pharmaceutical industry-led access program, the project sets a new standard for transparency in public reporting on an academic engagement with industry; all project-related documents, including funding agreements, methods protocols, and survey instruments are available for download on the project website.
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