Health is Wealth

Patrice Matchaba, M.D. of Novartis on how healthier lives equate to more opportunity and value balancing could lead to global prosperity.

Social inequalities are growing across the world. What role can a pharmaceutical company like Novartis play to help close equality gaps?

Social inequalities and health inequalities go hand-in-hand. Every child that is relieved of the burden of leprosy, malaria or sickle cell disease has the chance to go to school and get an education. Every successfully treated child relieves families and communities from the burden that disproportionately hits underprivileged populations. Simply put, healthier lives offer more equal opportunity. Access to medicines is a key material topic for Novartis and we are embedding access in the early stages of drug development through to market launch. In the past, on average, it took around 10 years before a drug approved in Europe or the US reached the developing world. We are aiming to bring this down to 12 months or less. In some instances, we have even been able to reduce this timeframe to 5 months. 

Global prosperity is best achieved through open, competitive markets that reward sustainability, and social and ecological responsibility. How can value balancing contribute to safe and healthy economies? 

The central question we need to ask ourselves is which metrics can best valuate what matters to all stakeholders beyond shareholders – from customers to vendors through to employees and society. The scope for impact valuation is broad, so we need a standardized approach that will enable us to compare results. Reliable, transparent and holistic performance measurement is essential to allocate capital and other resources to where there is the greatest collective benefit – to the company, its owners and all stakeholders. 

Why did Novartis join the value balancing alliance?

Novartis is a founding member of the alliance. For any company that cares about long-term value creation, it is meaningful to be part of this journey. Being able to compare impact valuation results is essential, but comparability requires standardization of methodologies and data. I believe the value balancing alliance can play a key role in facilitating broader adoption of a standardized impact valuation model. That would empower decision makers to create and protect long-term value, and embed impact valuation in business steering, i.e. in forecasting and target setting.