When you are from different background and in different country, you are scrutinised more, says Novartis CEO

Indian-origin CEO of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis Vasant (Vas) Narasimhan on Friday said when you come from a different background and you are in a different country, you are scrutinised a bit more. During an interactive session at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2022, Narasimhan said more needs to be done if we really want to be prepared for the next pandemic.

Asked if Covid-19 was over, he replied: “Tough question. These viruses tend to move to endemicity where they adapt to human body and human body adapts to virus.”

On access to medicines, Narasimhan opined that the capability to diagnose early is most important.

“We end up diagnosing patients far too late, especially in middle- and low-income countries. Getting that capability to diagnose early is the most important thing we can do. Because then we can at least start the journey for these patients as we have cheap generic medicines,” he observed.

Asserting that it’s a really exciting moment to be in the world of medicine and R&D, Narasimhan said: “RNA therapeutics are opening up a whole new world… What’s most exciting about some of these therapies is we have medicines like these where you can treat people every 6 months for cardiovascular conditions.”

“When you come from a different background and you are in a different country, you are scrutinised a bit more,” said the Indian-origin Novartis CEO.

Narasimhan said that India is at the heart of Novartis and much of the company’s activities happens in Hyderabad.

(With inputs from health)

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