In 2016-17 at a global level Novartis continued to strengthen its businessaccelerate innovation and further sharpen its organizational structure. In India we havereplicated these moves in an increasingly challenging environment.
The healthcare system in India continues to pose a challenge to not just industry butto all stakeholders as it strives to cater to a population of 1.3 billion. As one goesfurther into the hinterland the problem only gets exacerbated. Low public spending onhealthcare increasing price control and regulations are putting greater pressure on thepharmaceutical industry as it looks to maintain return to shareholders.
Implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) willl lead to simplification of the taxstructure and a positive impact on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. In theyears to come the use of digital technology in all spheres of life will we hope beleveraged for the larger good of healthcare.
As a company we are acutely aware of our responsibility to provide affordablemedicines and improve access to healthcare particularly to the rural poor. I am pleasedto share with you that our social business Arogya Parivar has been working relentlessly inthis area. In the past six years more than 31 million people attended over 700 000 healtheducation meetings. During the same period over 1 800 000 people were diagnosed in healthcamps held in 11 states across the country.
Our focus on leprosy through our Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives will helpthe government's efforts in eliminating this disease. It is truly saddening to know thatdespite the free medication that is provided globally by Novartis through the World HealthOrganization (WHO) people continue to delay treatment. A fully curable disease seeingchildren diagnosed and ending up with deformity is disheartening. We hope that you ourshareholders will play a role in spreading awareness of the disease so that together wecan make a difference.
In August 2015 Novartis signed a new Memorandum with WHO extending the provision ofmultidrug therapy (MDT) free of charge to all leprosy patients worldwide until the end of2020; the Company's collaboration with WHO began in 2000 and was renewed twice in 2005and 2010. The year 2016 marked 30 years of Novartis Foundation's commitment to support theleprosy-afflicted.
I thank you for the confidence you continue to repose in your Company and am pleased tobe able to propose a dividend of 10 per equity share of 5 each on behalf of the Board atthe forthcoming Annual General Meeting.
|Christopher Snook |