Access to safe effective quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines forall by 2030 is one of the key elements of the united nations sustainable development goal(sdg) 3 good health and well being.
According to the world health organization (who) an estimated two billion people haveno access to essential medicines effectively shutting them off from the benefits ofadvances in modern science and medicine. In a world enjoying unprecedented levels ofprosperity this is alarming. Providing the poor access to medicines is a humaneimperative and unless addressed just reinforces the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
While affordability is a key aspect there are other issues as well which need to beaddressed to give the poor access to medicines. These include plugging the gaps in healthsystems and infrastructure that hamper the delivery procurement practices tax and tariffpolicies and the strength of national drug regulatory authorities. Nations also need todevelop a system of pharmacovigilance to ensure that the medicines are of good quality andsafe so that the poor are protected from substandard medical products.
I am optimistic that the government will widen the ambit of its most ambitious healthscheme ayushman bharat to strengthen primary care and cover chronicdiseases. When that happens our company looks forward to being partners in the healthjourney of patients who otherwise had limited access to quality medicines.
Access to medicines calls for the active engagement of various stakeholders includinggovernment and industry. As a global research-based pharmaceuticals leader novartis hasalways believed that along with providing returns to its shareholders it has a socialcontract with society to provide access to medicines. Towards this end both globally andin india we provide scalable access solutions patient assistance programs equitablecommercial models social business models and drug donations.
A stable government at the centre and increased focus on growing the economy willreinforce estimates that india's base-of-the-pyramid population living on a few dollars aday will shrink significantly over the next ten years. Yet for some 850 million men womenand children in more than 640000 villages across ndia the idea of accessibleaffordable and high-quality medicines remains as remote as their homes. Arogya parivarour social business initiative continues to provide health information diagnosis andaccess to medicines to these underserved populations. In this annual report we present toour shareholders a glimpse of this remarkable success story.
On behalf of the board of directors i am pleased to propose a dividend of `10 perequity share of `5 at the forthcoming annual general meeting.
I thank you for the confidence you continue to repose in our company and look forwardto the same in the years ahead.
CHRISTOPHER SNOOK CHAIRMAN