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Nikola Stojković, Managing Director For Serbia And Montenegro At Novartis

Prevention Protects Health and Budgets

Innovative pharmaceutical company Novartis, which is headquartered in Switzerland and has a global presence encompassing more than 140 countries, has appointed Nikola Stojković as the new managing director of its representative office for Serbia and Montenegro

Our aim is to improve access to innovative therapies for patients, through support in strengthening the local health ecosystem, public-private partnerships and bringing solutions in cooperation with all interested parties in the healthcare sector ~ announces Mr Stojković.

In which areas in Serbia do you see your company’s greatest contribution? Alongside a broad portfolio of medicines in numerous therapy areas, we see our most significant contribution in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, oncology, hematology and autoimmune diseases. When we observe cardiovascular diseases alone, the leading cause of death in Serbia and worldwide, we have to consider their worrying effect on society as a whole and the fact that as much as 16% of total healthcare costs in 2017 (exceeding RSD 32 billion) were spent on circulatory system diseases.

One recent study on the burden of high levels of LDL cholesterol in Serbia, which is among the main causes of atherosclerosis – that, in turn, leads to heart attacks and ischemic strokes – showed total estimated annual costs to the state, for approximately 1.1 million people, exceeding 18 billion dinars, which accounts for five per cent of the total budget of the RFZO [The National Health Insurance Fund of the Republic of Serbia]. This study also showed that focused public health policy could save almost five billion dinars annually. We should thus seek a solution to reducing mortality and costs in prevention.

We see our most significant contribution in the treatment of diseases that are the greatest burden for society – cardiovascular diseases, oncology, hematology and autoimmune diseases

That’s why we provide strong support to the initiative for adoption of a national programme for the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease through the effective correction of dyslipidemia in Serbia, which unifies the efforts of the Ministry of Health, prominent cardiologists and endocrinologists, as well as patient associations. This initiative is harmonised with the WHO’s 25×25 global action plan, which targets a 25 per cent reduction in premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases and other non-communicable diseases by 2025.

Where do you see modern technology’s contribution in healthcare?

Modern technologies and advanced approaches to data management enable us to increase efficacy, support innovation and improve the way we develop and deliver our medicines. They help patients better monitor and manage their disease through tools like medication reminders, the simpler or automated measuring of disease symptoms, faster sharing of information or online consultation with a doctor. For decision-makers, the good availibilty of information of data can contribute to the better planning and allocating of resources in order to reduce costs and improve the quality of care, while digitalised data collection can help in the advanced collection of risk factors and quicker responses to prevent disease.

The pharmaceutical industry is at the forefront of advances in digital health and the introduction of technology to healthcare systems. In these endeavours, we rely on cooperation and partnerships with, beside key decission makers in healthcare system, the Embassy of Switzerland, the Swiss Chamber of Commerce, professional associations etc. Considering that one of the biggest obstacles to improving health is the possibility for quality care to encompass all patients who need it, the improved access to innovative therapies with simple, cost-effective technological solutions that are available on devices like mobile phones can help in overcoming these barriers.

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