Novartis has announced that it will be expanding its commitment to eradicating leprosy, as part of a new global agreement.
Following a major meeting between pharmaceutical companies and government organisations, overseen by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Novartis has agreed to an expanded five-year drug donation scheme.
This will include the contribution of treatments worth $22.5 million (14.2 million pounds) up to 2020, as well as $2.5 million to help the World Health Organization deliver the medicines to around 850,000 patients.
Novartis has also pledged to take part in collaborative research to support the final push in eliminating the serious condition, rates of which have fallen dramatically in recent decades.
Joseph Jimenez, chief executive officer of Novartis, said: "We are proud to work with governments, international agencies, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to ensure that patients receive the treatment they need."
Last week, the company published its 2011 financial report, revealing a 16 percent year-over-year increase in sales last year.