Novartis Announces McKesson Will Provide Administrative Services for Novartis Care Card(SM) Discount Program to Medicare Recipients

Dec 11, 2001, 00:00 ET from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

    EAST HANOVER, N.J., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Novartis Pharmaceuticals
 Corporation announced today that it will work with McKesson Health Solutions
 to introduce the Novartis Care Card(SM) drug discount program.  The Novartis
 Care Card will make prescriptions more affordable for eligible Medicare
 recipients who lack drug coverage.
     "Novartis has taken action to bring financial relief to Medicare
 beneficiaries that need it most," said Paulo Costa, Chief Executive Officer,
 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.  "McKesson Health Solutions' expertise
 in managing pharmacy-based programs and delivering patient support services
 will enhance our efforts to bring drug access to those in need."
     McKesson Health Solutions will be administering the Novartis Care Card
 Program, including processing applications and issuing Novartis Care Cards to
 eligible participants.  In addition, they will work with participating
 pharmacies across the country to process prescription claims.
     "We are pleased to support Novartis in its innovative program to help
 eligible Medicare recipients obtain the medications they need," said Margaret
 Pfau, president, McKesson Health Solutions.  "We look forward to working with
 Novartis to deliver its solution to a challenging problem that affects
 millions of Americans."
     McKesson Health Solutions will combine its advanced electronic claims
 transaction processing and adjudication systems, telecommunications links to
 retail pharmacies, database management expertise and direct to patient
 fulfillment capabilities to administer all financial aspects of the program as
 well as patient eligibility, enrollment and ongoing relationship management.
     How the Novartis Care Card Program Works
     The Novartis Care Card will be available free of charge as of
 January 2002. Eligible Medicare recipients should receive a savings of 25% or
 more on select prescription products.  Individuals will qualify if they are a
 Medicare recipient with an annual income of less than 300% of the Federal
 Poverty Level (approximately $26,000 for an individual; $35,000 for a couple)
 and do not currently have alternative prescription drug coverage.  Those
 interested in learning more about the Novartis Care Card or receiving an
 application can call 1-866-974-CARE (2273), log on to the Novartis website, or consult their local pharmacist.  The
 program will be officially launched on January 2, 2002.
     The program will cover select Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
 prescription products(1).  Novartis also issued an
 industry-wide call-to-action, encouraging other pharmaceutical companies to
 create programs to deliver real value to the Medicare community.  This target
 population includes approximately 80% of Medicare enrollees who lack coverage,
 or about 10 million people.
     The Novartis list of products includes key products for diseases affecting
 the senior population, such as Diovan(R) (valsartan)(for high blood pressure),
 Exelon(R) (rivastigmine tartrate)(for Alzheimer's Disease), Lamisil Oral(R)
 (terbinafine hydrochloride tablets) (for fungal infections), Lescol(R)
 (fluvastatin sodium) (for high cholesterol), Lotensin(R) (benazapril
 hydrochloride) (for high blood pressure), Lotrel(R) (amlodipine and benazepril
 hydrochloride) (for high blood pressure), and Miacalcin Nasal Spray(R)
 (calcitonin salmon) (for osteoporosis).  Novartis Pharmaceuticals is also
 working with other Novartis healthcare companies to consider ways of expanding
 the program.
     About Novartis
     Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation researches, develops, manufactures and
 markets leading innovative prescription drugs used to treat a number of
 diseases and conditions, including central nervous system disorders, organ
 transplantation, cardiovascular diseases, dermatological diseases, respiratory
 disorders, cancer and arthritis.  The company's mission is to improve people's
 lives by pioneering novel healthcare solutions.
     Novartis AG (NYSE:   NVS) is a world leader in healthcare with core
 businesses in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, generics, eye-care, and animal
 health.  In 2000, the Novartis Group's ongoing businesses achieved collective
 sales of CHF 29.1 billion (USD 17.2 billion) and a net income of
 CHF 6.5 billion (USD 3.9 billion). The Group invested approximately
 CHF 4.0 billion (USD 2.4 billion) in R&D.  Novartis AG is headquartered in
 Basel, Switzerland.  Novartis Group companies employ about 70,000 people and
 operates in over 140 countries around the world. For further information
 please consult
     About McKesson Corporation
     McKesson Corporation is the leading provider of supply, information and
 care management products and services that reduce costs and improve quality of
 access healthcare.  McKesson solutions empower healthcare professionals with
 the tools they need to deliver care more effectively and efficiently.  With
 revenues of $42 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001, McKesson
 ranks No. 35 in the 2001 Fortune 500.  More information about McKesson is
 available on the company's web site at:
      (1) Hospital products that are already covered by Medicare are excluded,
          as are selected specialty products already covered by Novartis access
     For full prescribing information for products listed in the press release,
 visit our website
     For further information please contact:  Brandi Robinson 973.781.5392 or
 Martha Grant 212.583.2743
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SOURCE Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation