More than 10 years ago, C. K. Prahalad, a management thinker, challenged Novartis to do more to reach large numbers of people living at the base of the pyramid in developing countries – those earning less than USD 2 per day. This led to our first social business, Arogya Parivar (Healthy Family in Hindi), in India. This program quickly demonstrated the feasibility of our approach by breaking even 30 months after launch, and increasing sales by nearly 300 times in 10 years.

Building on this success, Novartis launched Healthy Family programs in Vietnam (2012), Kenya (2013) and Uganda (2019). A key characteristic of these programs is the co-existence of two separate yet mutually reinforcing arms. Social activities, both healthcare education and health camps, are independent from commercial operations yet financed through product sales.

Improving health education and care in a way that is sustainable for our business

Healthy Family programs use innovative business models that build local, sustainable capabilities for healthcare – including education, infrastructure and products – for people living at the base of the pyramid. Local health educators teach their communities about health-related issues, host health education meetings, and explain the importance of seeking out diagnosis and treatment from a qualified doctor before a condition worsens.

Each program is unique and adapted to the country’s healthcare priorities and local customs. To be included in the respective portfolios, products need to be simple to use and tailored to meet the needs of underserved populations with a low disposable income, usually earned on a daily basis.

Since 2007, more than 80 million people have been reached through health education in India, Vietnam, Kenya and Uganda. More on our Healthy Family programs

An innovative business model to address chronic diseases

With the launch of Novartis Access® in 2015, we took our social business approach to the next level.

Our Novartis Access program is an innovative business model to increase access to on- and off-patent medicines for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in countries across Africa, Latin America and Asia.

The program evolved in 2022 to address the complexity of health system barriers that, along with a lack of access to high-quality and affordable medicines, contribute to poor health outcomes.

To further drive impact and integrate the approach into our core business, we increased the flexibility of the product offering, broadened distribution to additional channels, and took steps to address health system needs that may inhibit access to these medicines.

More on Novartis Access