Considering multiple local needs to facilitate rational use of products

Novartis adapts brochures and packaging in multiple ways to facilitate rational use of products.


  • What: Novartis provides examples of adapting product brochures and packaging to address five different types of needs identified by the Access to Medicine Index (language, literacy, and demographic, cultural, and environmental considerations) for some products destined for countries within the scope of the Index.
  • Objective: Novartis adapts brochures and packaging to ensure that patients in different geographies will have knowledge of the medicine they are taking, and that there will be responsible use of antibiotics at the point of dispensing and administration.
  • Scope: This applies to the use of artemether/lumefantrine (Coartem®) for the treatment of malaria in Africa, cyclosporine (Neoral®) capsules for rheumatoid arthritis in Sudan, and antibiotics in Latin America, particularly Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.
  • Context: Companies can adapt brochures and packaging to help patients and healthcare workers understand how to use a product appropriately. Companies can adapt materials to address different types of needs of local populations, and at various levels of the health system, including patients, nurses and physicians.

Looking closer

Novartis stands apart from all other companies by providing examples of addressing all five types of needs identified by the Index, and addressing some of them at different levels of the health system. The company shows a proactive conscientious approach to supporting the rational use of pharmaceutical products.

The Novartis Malaria Initiative worked with PSI, an organisation with programs targeting malaria, the Zambian Nurses Association, the University of Oslo, the KEMRI-University of Oxford-Wellcome Trust collaborative program and the WHO to develop packaging for artemether/lumefantrine (Coartem®) that addresses literacy needs. In addition to written instructions, the packaging uses pictograms that remind patients how many tablets to take and when to take them. The packaging uses color codes to indicate dosing regimens for different bodyweights. The packaging of the company’s formulation for infants and children also helps explain the importance of completing the full treatment course, with images of malaria parasites decreasing in number as the three-day course progresses, to support treatment adherence, taking children’s needs into account. Novartis has developed an Africa-wide packaging that includes English, French and Portuguese, to address the varying language needs in anglophone, francophone and lusophone Africa. Further, the blister packs were strengthened, using a moisture-barrier film to protect the tablets and guarantee their stability and shelf life, in hot, humid conditions, taking environmental needs into account.

In another example, cyclosporine (Neoral®) capsules for rheumatoid arthritis and which contains alcohol have a Halal indication in Sudan and other Islamic countries, taking cultural needs into account.

Finally, Sandoz’ “Better Care More Health”, started in 2015, is a multi-media educational campaign for the responsible use of antibiotics in Latin America, primarily in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. This campaign includes pharmacy-level leaflets, websites in three languages and digital promotion of sites, video content, brochures and sales-force training, to promote rational use at different levels of the health system. The campaign has reached approximately 21,000 physicians and 35,000 pharmacists in the region, and also focuses on reaching patients. Sandoz is currently exploring expanding the campaign to other regions around the world.

Sign up to receive updates about our work.