It is an honor to be able to address you today, if only indirectly, on such an important occasion: the celebration of GIPAP in India.
Today we are all here to celebrate the patients who have been helped by GIPAP and The Max Foundation. Since its launch in early 2002, the Glivec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP) has provided Glivec to more than 20,000 eligible patients suffering from Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) and metastatic malignant gastro intestinal stromal tumors (GIST) in more than 80 countries. For many of these patients there was no hope before Glivec. We have made a commitment to do our best that no patient would be denied access to Glivec due to financial concerns. In India, GIPAP has helped nearly 8,400 Glivec patients who would otherwise not have access to this innovative therapy.
I am pleased to say that GIPAP is one of the most far-reaching international patient assistance programs ever developed for a break through cancer therapy. Novartis developed GIPAP following the World Health Organization drug donation guidelines. However, as the program evolved, it has been the commitment of physicians, partners like The Max Foundation and patients like you, Friends of Max, that have made GIPAP the ground breaking program it is today.
Access to innovative therapies is a primary concern of Novartis, and we work with healthcare organizations and governments worldwide to facilitate reimbursement to eligible patients. Individual governments’ regulatory and healthcare reimbursement policies, in addition to economic environments, lead to varying reimbursement programs for Glivec. GIPAP fills an important need by providing Glivec at no cost to eligible patients who are not covered by the local reimbursement requirements, are not insured and cannot pay for it privately.
I wish that I could personally attend this celebration, however, I want to express how incredibly proud we are at Novartis of GIPAP, The Max Foundation and all the accomplishments made on behalf of patients since its creation just three years ago. GIPAP is an important example of how Novartis delivers on its commitment to discover, develop and make broadly available novel therapies that improve and extend the lives of cancer patients worldwide.
My personal congratulations and best wishes for the future as you mark this important milestone in your lives and in the history of GIPAP.
Daniel Vasella, M.D.
Chairman & CEO.