Novartis India, the Indian arm of Swiss drug major Novartis, has launched a nationwide novel drug marketing initiative named Arogya Parivar, specifically targeting healthcare needs of villagers.
The project would initially focus on 24 products from Sandoz, the generics arm of Novartis, and Consumer Healthcare OTC business unit of Novartis.
These medicines are for tuberculosis, mother and childhood malnutrition, respiratory and gastro-intestinal problems, said Ranjit Shahani, vice-chairman and MD. Novartis India at a press meet in Mumbai, today.
The project is organised around a central marketing and planning team responsible for creating materials for public awareness such as leaflets, posters, training manuals, short films in various local languages. Medicines will be offered in simple-to-use packaging and at affordable costs to villagers. The target is to reach 50 million rural patients by February 2010. Shahani declined to reveal the financial targets from the programme.
Independent cells, managed by a supervisor and assisted by health educators, will create awareness among villagers on diseases, prevention and treatments, refer patients to doctors, brief physicians about the programme and treatments, and make products available in pharmacies.
Arogya Parivar has opened 26 cells in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh and expects to have close to 200 cells by the year-end, said Shahani.
He said actual sales had started in 2006 at three different locations in India with a limited set of products on a pilot project basis.
By March 2008, the programme was expanded to cover 26 locations, reaching more than 10 million people.
In India, rural areas represent 58 per cent of the national disposable income, with villagers having an average spending capacity of over $2 a day, he said.