Corporate Philanthropy - Best Practices at Novartis AG

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG063
Case Length : 23 Pages
Period : 2000-06
Organization : Novartis AG, Novartis Foundation for Sustainable
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : Switzerland
Industry : Pharmaceutical

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"One vital way of improving health conditions for poor people of the world is to establish strong partnerships involving all parties - governments, NGOs, the private sector and international organizations. The cooperation between The World Health Organization (WHO), the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development (NFSD) and Novartis to eliminate leprosy exemplifies this form of partnership."1

- Paul Hunt, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, in 2004.

"We are committed to applying our core strengths in discovering, developing, producing and distributing high quality medicines to ensure that patients around the world receive the treatments they need."2

- Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO, Novartis, in 2005.


In December 2005, Switzerland-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG (Novartis) received the 'Business Ethics Award 2006' by German Business Ethics Network, for implementing the principles of the Global Compact across the company (Refer Exhibit I for The Principles of the Global Compact). The award recognized the activities of the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development (Novartis Foundation), which provided a link between the company and society, by bringing out issues pertaining to development policies and bringing external views to the attention of Novartis. In February 2005, Novartis AG received the '2005 Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy award.'

The award was given by the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) in recognition of Novartis' efforts that benefited millions of poor patients across the world. CECP gave the award to companies that had demonstrated executive commitment and innovation in corporate philanthropy. In the year 2004, Novartis spent over US$ 570 million on philanthropic activities through a program called 'Access to Medicines'.

Through this program, the company reached more than 4.25 million poor patients across the world offering them subsidized medicines. By 2005, around 6.5 million patients around the world benefited from the programs of the company that were valued at US$ 696 million. The company's philanthropic activities included drug donations and research & development activities to fight against diseases like leprosy, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria in the developing countries. Novartis also carried out patient assistance programs to reach poor patients in underdeveloped and developing countries (Refer Exhibit II for the details of 'Access to Medicine' program).

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1] Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Symposium on the "Right to Health: A Duty for Whom?", December 02, 2004.

2] "Novartis Receives Top Philanthropy Award,", February 28, 2005.


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