October 9, 2014 – Approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness, according to the World Health Organization. Of these, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment. Often a result of poor living conditions, 90% of blind people live in low-income countries.
Yet 80% of visual impairment is avoidable, meaning readily treatable and/or preventable. Restorations of sight and blindness prevention strategies are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care, according to the WHO. While the number of people blind from infectious causes has greatly reduced in the past 20 years, an estimated 19 million children still suffer from visual impairment.
Due to the economic impact of preventable blindness, affordable ophthalmic care is a priority for governments and health authorities. Sandoz is the leader in generic opthalmics (ranking by global sales as of end 2013). Generic medicines provide health authorities, governments, and patients with affordable, quality alternatives to the originator, or “brand” medicine. Affordable generics are especially needed in countries where patients have to pay out-of-pocket for medicines. Sandoz is committed to providing patients around the world with affordable, high-quality eye care.