Sandoz announces winners of inaugural Healthcare Access Challenge (Sandoz HACk)

  • Three winners, chosen by expert panel at Wired Health 2017 in London, identified innovative approaches to address access challenges in Ghana, the Maldives and the Philippines.
  • Winning ideas proposed novel ways to use mobile technologies to connect patients with caregivers and essential medicines
  • Sandoz invited young people worldwide to “reimagine access to healthcare” – arguably the largest unmet medical need 
13. 3. 2017

Sandoz, a Novartis Division, announced today the three winners of the inaugural Healthcare Access Challenge (Sandoz HACk). The winners, chosen by a panel of judges at the Wired Health 2017 event in London, identified innovative approaches to address challenges in Ghana, the Maldives and the Philippines.

The winning ideas all proposed novel ways to use mobile technologies to connect patients with caregivers and essential medicines, addressing access issues specific to their country but with the potential for solutions to be applied elsewhere.

The three winners were chosen from six finalists, out of a total of approximately 150 ideas submitted from 30 countries. All six presented their ideas to a panel of judges at Wired Health 2017, as part of the HACk “Live in London 2017” event. 

Announcing the winners, Sandoz CEO and Division Head Richard Francis said: “Despite all the advances in modern medicine, universal access to healthcare is still arguably the single largest unmet medical need for people around the world.”

He added: “We believe that the biggest changes often come from amazing, small ideas – and that the only thing standing between a good idea and a great idea is often just a bit of support at the right time. I see the future of medicine being driven by strong collaboration between healthcare companies and external partners. The Sandoz HACk is one way that we are trying to make this vision a reality.”

Roberto Ascione, CEO of Healthware International and a member of the Sandoz HACk 2017 judging panel, said: “Increasing access to healthcare is one of the major challenges facing mankind today. No one person, or organization, can solve this on their own – that’s why we all need to work together to find practical solutions to real problems. That’s what Sandoz HACk is all about, and why I’m proud to be part of this great new access initiative.”

To help support development of the six ideas prior to pitching them at Wired Health 2017, all six were given the chance to receive feedback from OpenIDEO, a global community of creative thinkers, technologists and others interested in helping social entrepreneurs. That feedback was also supplemented by contributions from functional experts within Sandoz. 

The three winners, who will now receive EUR 20,000 each in funding to “bring their ideas to life” as well as ongoing support from Sandoz experts, are:

Blood Drive – in the Maldives, one out of 120 newborns has blood condition thalassemia. 85% of these children will not survive until age five unless they receive regular blood transfusions, but the scattered nature of the islands makes coordinating blood donations and banks very hard. This idea from Mohammed Shuraih and Yameen Rasheed aims to link islanders with a database of hospitals, who can send updates when they are running blood donation programs and use geolocation alerts to everyone nearby so that they can donate blood.

GoPharma – In Ghana, pharmacists don’t generally work in rural areas and pharmacies are staffed by unskilled workers. This idea from Elvin Blankson and Priscilla Adu-Darko would connect pharmacists in towns with rural pharmacies, to make virtual appointments for advice on how to take medicines, contraindications etc.

Save-a-life – In the Philippines, basic first aid skills are mandated for inclusion in basic education, to help with the fact that ambulances find it hard to reach accidents quickly, given the distances involved and the challenging geography of the island nation. But most people don’t yet have these skills. This app idea from Joel Alejandro and Andrea Relucio will help Filipinos who don’t have the necessary training to perform CPR using auditory and visual guides, while also notifying emergency services.

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the key pillars of the second-largest generic pharmaceutical company globally. Its role within Sandoz is to act as: a leading global development center for technologically demanding products and technologies; a key global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines; a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products; a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biosimilar active ingredients and products; a supply center for the markets of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), South East Europe (SEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and is responsible for marketing and sales of Sandoz products on the Slovenian market. For further information, please visit

Sandoz is a global leader in generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals. As a division of the Novartis Group, our purpose is to discover new ways to improve and extend people’s lives. We contribute to society’s ability to support growing healthcare needs by pioneering novel approaches to help people around the world access high-quality medicine. Our portfolio of approximately 1000 molecules, covering all major therapeutic areas, accounted for 2015 sales of USD 10.1 billion. In 2015, our products reached more than 500 million patients and we aspire to reach one billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area.
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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, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 118,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

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Katarina Klemenc
Corporate Communications 
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