Access to Medicines Policy Research

Despite the implementation of national essential medicines programmes in many countries over the last few decades, access to medicines remains a significant barrier to improved health, particularly among poor and vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries. This is due in part to the fact that policies, interventions and actions in the area of medicines have historically focused on a vertical approach, resulting in limited, short-term effects.

To address this situation, a wider approach that actively connects the different components of health systems (e.g. health financing, service delivery, human resources) is needed; an approach that will ensure that policies are more effective at addressing systems constraints.

Alliance launches programme on access to medicines

In May 2010 the Alliance launched a new programme on access to medicines research with the aim of building an evidence-informed policy-making culture around the access to, and use of, medicines. Drawing on its expertise in health policy and systems research, the Alliance aims to link the area of essential medicines and pharmaceuticals with other blocks of the health system (e.g. health financing, human resources, service delivery) to draw a more comprehensive picture of access to medicines issues.

Identification of priority research questions

In 2012, the Alliance led a programme of work to identify priority research questions on access to medicines.

Research programme

In May 2012, the Alliance issued a call for proposals on access to medicines. The objective of the call was to explore the connections between medicines and their relation to three other functions of health systems: health financing, governance, and health information.