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Novartis & IMD Win EFMD "Best of the Best" Case Writing Award

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM -- (Marketwired) -- 05/15/14 -- The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) is delighted to announce that the "SMS for Life Case Series" by IMD and Novartis has been chosen as the "Best of the Best" case from the 2013 edition of the EFMD Case Writing Competition.

SMS for Life is a Roll Back Malaria partnership initiative led by Novartis. It started in 2008 with the passion and energy of Jim Barrington, then chief information officer (CIO) at Novartis. Jim wanted to help save lives by eliminating these stock-outs in sub-Saharan Africa. The SMS for Life case series highlights the personal initiative and leadership role that Jim played as director of the SMS for Life program in developing a public-private partnership to find a solution to the stock-out problem. It then describes how, over the course of four years, Jim led SMS for Life from a successful pilot in Tanzania to a program with global implications for tracking, monitoring and managing information about health products in low resource countries, using low-cost, simple-to-use technologies and infrastructure. As the project grew in scale and scope externally, SMS for Life became an innovation of both social and business importance.

"We are absolutely delighted that the IMD SMS for Life case series and SMS for Life program led by Jim Barrington from Novartis has won this high honor from EFMD. The judges captured the essence of the case and its potential social and health care significance and impact. The fact that this IMD case package will now be available to professors around the world who wish to use it in classes is also a major benefit for IMD, for the Roll Back Malaria partnership of the WHO, for Novartis, but, most of all, for the leadership shown by one person, Jim Barrington. If it were not for his inspiration and commitment to make a difference in reducing stock-outs of life saving malaria drugs in Sub-Saharan Africa, we would not have had the opportunity to develop this case series and teaching materials. Anna, Patricia and I wish to thank the EFMD and the judges for this wonderful award," said Don Marchand, Professor of Strategy Execution and Information Management, IMD.

Every minute in Africa a child dies of malaria. Each year, approximately 250 million malaria infections cause over 600,000 deaths, most of them of poor African children under the age of five and pregnant women. Over 50% of the cases of malaria infections worldwide occur in five African countries: Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya. Over the years, diagnostic and preventative measures - drugs, insecticides and bed nets - have helped improve the situation. But these are often either too costly or not practical in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in remote areas. The tragedy is that the vast majority of malaria deaths are preventable with drugs that treat the disease. However, a supply chain problem meant that supply was not meeting the demand in areas with a high incidence of malaria - primarily remote rural locations - and the resulting stock-outs were costing lives.

"We feel honored and proud that SMS for Life has been chosen as the "Best of the Best" case by the EFMD. SMS for Life demonstrates that a simple idea and technology can fix a big problem and have a huge health impact - improving healthcare and knowing that patients receive the medicines they need is our most rewarding achievement," said Jim Barrington, Program director, SMS for Life, Novartis. "I would like to thank Professor Don Marchand Anna Moncef & Patricia Santos for bringing the series to life. Their passion for the topic and acumen has made the case series a model of excellence. I would also like to thank the Roll Back Malaria partnership and all the partners involved in SMS for Life for their dedication and enduring efforts. I believe the program is a testimony to the long-standing commitment of Novartis to eliminating malaria."

Leading SMS for Life is part of a broader commitment by Novartis in the fight against malaria. The Novartis Malaria Initiative focuses on improving access to treatment, helping communities in malaria-endemic countries deliver better healthcare and investing in research and development into the next generation of antimalarials. Over the past decade, the initiative has become one of the largest access-to-medicine programs in the healthcare industry, measured by the number of patients reached annually. Since 2001, the company has delivered more than 600 million antimalarial treatments without profit to the public sector in endemic countries.

Read more about SMS for Life

Watch the SMS for Life video

Watch Jim Barrington talk about malaria and SMS for Life

The case was written by Donald A. Marchand, Anna Moncef & Patricia Santos from IMD in Switzerland. The EFMD Jury panel said, "This outstanding case covers a critical global issue - improved global health through the prevention of stock outs of essential malaria drugs in Africa. As such it is a general example of social entrepreneurship on a global level. It offers multiple options for how to be used and focused. Many faculty members, in many institutions around the world could potentially use this case and bring value to their learning mission".

For more on the EFMD Case Writing Competition please visit

The SMS For Life Case Series is available to buy from the Case Center -

About EFMD

EFMD is a leading international network of business schools and companies (830 members/82 countries) at the forefront or raising the standards of management education and development globally. EFMD runs the EQUIS and EPAS accreditation systems as well as the EFMD Deans Across Frontiers development programme (EDAF) and the Business School Impact Survey (BSIS). EFMD is one of the key reference points for management education worldwide. More information about EFMD is available via, the EFMD blog and @EFMDnews on Twitter.

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