Health financing for universal coverage

Options for financing and optimizing medicines in resource-poor countries

Discussion Paper 07/2010

World Health Organization

Publication details

Number of pages: 63
Publication date: 2010
Languages: English



This paper discusses the documented inequalities in access to medicines due to inadequate public spending, a lack of or adequate health insurance coverage, poor availability of essential drugs, poor affordability and high household out-of-pocket expenditure, partly due to significantly higher priced and more dominated with originator brand drugs in the private sector.

Various options are discussed for resource-poor countries to enhance access to medicines and minimize household out-of-pocket spending on medicines. Some of the suggested options are already in practice in some low-income countries while others emerged from the experience in high- and middle-income countries.

The paper 1) discusses the challenges to medicines’ financing in developing countries and highlights some of the bottlenecks in medicines availability, affordability, and the lack of good regulation and planning; 2) Analyzes of different options for financing medicines and their merits and demerits; 3) offer of some examples of successful execution of the listed financing options; and 4) provides an analytical framework for financing to attain universal coverage of medicines.