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2016-01-31

Novartis International AG: Novartis Foundation commemorates World Leprosy Day with its continued efforts to go the last mile toward elimination

Novartis International AG / Novartis Foundation commemorates World Leprosy Day
with its continued efforts togo the last mile toward elimination . Processed
and transmitted by NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions.The issuer is solely
responsible for the content of this announcement.
* 2016 marks 30 years of commitment by the Novartis Foundation to support
people affected by leprosy and to end this ancient disease

* New strategy from the Novartis Foundation to accelerate elimination is
focused on interrupting transmission of the disease

* Last year Novartis renewed its commitment with the WHO to donate multidrug
therapy to treat leprosy through the year 2020

* More than 200,000 people are diagnosed with leprosy every year;
approximately 10% of those are children, indicating continued spread of the
disease

The digital press release with multimedia content can be accessed here:

Basel, January 31, 2016
-
On World Leprosy Day 2016, the Novartis Foundation calls for a greater global
commitment to the fight against leprosy to support efforts towards zero
transmission of the disease and to reduce stigma. The Novartis Foundation
continues to work with partners around the world on early detection and
treatment of leprosy, proactive surveillance, the development of diagnostic
tools, and contact tracing with preventative treatment.

"The dream of the Novartis Foundation is that we see the day when the number
of people newly diagnosed with leprosy - especially children - is zero," said
Dr. Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation. "Though we have seen a large
reduction in the prevalence of the disease in the last 30 years, we cannot
stop now. The last mile to eliminate leprosy will be tough, and to succeed we
need greater awareness, more resources, and innovation. It is important for
leprosy to be put back on the global health agenda to make this happen."

2016 marks 30 years of commitment from the Novartis Foundation in the fight
against leprosy, beginning with initiatives to improve access to treatment,
quickly followed by the development of innovative programs to improve access
to healthcare services, reduce stigma and support patient rehabilitation. Now
the goal of the Novartis Foundation is to accelerate the elimination of
leprosy with a rigorous strategy to interrupt its transmission.

Significant progress in the fight against leprosy has been one of the greatest
public health successes. Global figures from the World Health Organization
(WHO) on leprosy highlight these early successes, showing that the global
burden of leprosy has been reduced by 95% since the 1980s. This is due in
large part to the widespread availability of multidrug therapy (MDT) whichhas
reached 16 million patientssince 1981.

However, the case detection rate (incidence) for leprosy has now plateaued at
about 200,000-250,000 new diagnoses per year over the past 10 years and the
disease remains endemic in high-burden pockets in many countries in Asia,
Africa and Latin America.[1]

New diagnoses occur in children as well as adults, which indicates continued
transmission of the disease, and too many patients are diagnosed late and
with irreversible disabilities.

The challenge of the last mile in the fight against leprosy is to interrupt
transmission.

In 2014, the Novartis Foundation launched a new leprosy elimination strategy
developed with the top leprosy and disease elimination experts. The strategy
includes four pillars: early detection and treatment, contact tracing and
preventative treatment, strengthening of surveillance systems to become
action-oriented and the development of diagnostic tools for faster and
earlier diagnosis.

History of Novartis and the Novartis Foundation in the fight against leprosy

Multidrug therapy (MDT) consists of three drugs (rifampicin, clofazimine and
dapsone), two of which (rifampicin and clofazimine) were developed in the
research laboratories of Novartis. MDT has made it possible to treat
patients, interrupt the transmission of leprosy and prevent disabilities.
Even some patients with the severest form of the disease show visible
clinical improvement within weeks of starting treatment.

Novartis and the Novartis Foundation have a long-term commitment to leprosy
treatment and control. Since 2000, Novartis has donated more than 56 million
blister packs valued at approximately USD 90 million through the World Health
Organization (WHO), helping to treat more than six million leprosy patients
worldwide.

In 2015, Novartis renewed its pledge with the WHO to work to end leprosy by
extending its donation of MDT medicines to treat leprosy to all patients
worldwide through the year 2020. Overall it is expected that the program will
reach an estimated 1.3 million patients during the next five years. This is
part of the company's commitment in 2012 to the London Declaration on
Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The Novartis Foundation has been active in the fight against leprosy for 30
years, previously focusing on innovative social marketing programs to reduce
the stigma attached to leprosy and supporting patient rehabilitation. The
current focus of the foundation is to interrupt the transmission of the
disease in an effort to go the last mile to elimination.

Disclaimer

This press release contains expressed or implied forward-looking statements,
including statements that can be identified by terminology such as
"continued," "efforts," "commitment," "strategy," "focused," "calls for,"
"continues," "dream," "will," "goal," "launched," "pledge," "work to,"
"expected," "effort," "aim," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking
statements reflect the current views of the Group regarding future events,
and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may
cause actual results to be materially different from any future results
expressed or implied by such statements. These expectations could be affected
by, among other things, risks and factors referred to in the Risk Factors
section of Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and
Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press
release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update it in
the future.

About the Novartis Foundation

The Novartis Foundation is a philanthropic organization pioneering innovative
healthcare models that can have a transformational impact on the health of
the poorest populations. We work hand-in-hand with our local and global
partners to catalyze scalable and sustainable healthcare models to improve
access and health outcomes, and to accelerate elimination of leprosy and
malaria by focusing on interventions that aim to interrupt transmission.
Everything we do is grounded in evidence and innovation, and our work is a
continuous cycle of evaluation, adaptation and application. In 2015, the
operational budget for the foundation was CHF 12 million and our programs
reached 4.5 million people.

For more information, please visit:
www.novartisfoundation.org

www.youtube.com/novartisfoundation

Novartis Foundation is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @NovartisFDN
athttps://twitter.com/NovartisFDN

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving
needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland,
Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative
medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the
only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2015, the Group
achieved net sales of USD 49.4 billion, while R&D throughout the Group
amounted to approximately USD 8.9 billion (USD 8.7 billion excluding
impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ
approximately 119,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are
available in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information,
please visithttp://www.novartis.com

Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis
athttp://twitter.com/novartis.

References

[1] World Health (2015); Global leprosy update, 2014: need for early case
detection; Weekly epidemiological record, 90, 461-476;

# # #

Novartis Media Relations

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Novartis Investor Relations

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Media release (PDF)
http://hugin.info/134323/R/1982427/726414.pdf

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Source: Novartis International AG via Globenewswire

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