Create a centre of excellence to support growth
Establishing a centre of excellence can help companies identify and share best practices and centralize tasks that support growth, such as establishing partnerships and measuring results.
In 2007, the Swiss-based multinational pharmaceutical company, Novartis, started its Healthy Family programme in India. After three years, the programme, which provides health education and affordable medicines to rural villagers, became profitable and has since been rolled out in 17 Indian states and three other countries: Kenya, Vietnam and Indonesia. Further markets are expected to follow.
“A central team like our corporate responsibility team can support the business in achieving success. It also helps from an internal and an external communication perspective to spread the message that this is the right thing to do.”
Charlie Hough, Vice-President and Global Head, Strategy, Corporate Responsibility, Novartis
The Healthy Family programme was initiated by the Executive Committee and corporate strategy team, but today it is managed by the Sandoz generics division, since most of the products sold through the programme come from Sandoz. The Group Corporate Responsibility (CR) team acts as a key adviser to the Sandoz team and reporting lines reinforce this structure. The head of the Healthy Family programme has a dotted-line reporting relationship into the global head of CR, in addition to the hard-line reporting relationship into Sandoz.
The CR team provides multiple types of support to Sandoz. The first is as a clearinghouse of best practices. The CR team visits operations in the countries at least 3-4 times a year, collects best practices to share lessons across divisions and at headquarters, and facilitates regular exchanges between the country programme directors. Second, the CR team has specific expertise in impact measurement and thus conducts the social impact assessment of every Healthy Family programme. Third, it assesses new markets for expansion by analysing their health systems and population densities, and then helps to tailor the programme to local market conditions, especially government relations. Finally, it acts as a sounding board to test new ideas and facilitate partnerships between the Sandoz team and external stakeholders, such as health NGOs and investors in health infrastructure in the programme’s operating geographies.
Novartis built on the success of the Healthy Family programme to launch the “Novartis Access” initiative in 2015. This initiative’s portfolio of 15 patented and off-patent medicines focused on cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, breast cancer and diabetes will be made available in 30 low- and low-middle-income countries over the coming years at an average factory price of $1 per month per treatment.
Home page image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko