New UN report confirms ongoing lack of access to essential medicines
The UN report Strengthening the Global Partnership for Development in a Time of Crisis highlights the existence of large gaps in the availability of medicines in both the public and private sectors, as well as a wide variation in prices which render essential medicines unaffordable to poor people.
Launched on September 16th as the second report of the MDG Gap Task Force, the report describes progress towards achieving MDG 8 (Develop a global partnership for development) and its related targets in the areas of essential medicines, official development assistance, trade, external debt and technology.
MDG 8, Target 8.E: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential medicines in developing countries was measured using nine indicators for measuring access to medicines using data collected by WHO and its partners. The report found that in the public sector, generic medicines are only available in 38.1% of facilities, and on average cost 250% more than the international reference price. In the private sector, those same medicines are available in 63.3% of facilities, but cost on average about 610% more than the international reference price. High prices often render medicines unaffordable, with common treatment regimens costing a low-paid government worker several days' wages. The cost of treatment for chronic diseases is particularly unaffordable because of the need for lifelong treatment which is less amenable to short-term financial coping strategies.
Related links and documents
- Measuring medicine prices, availability, affordability and price components
- Medicines Prices - A New Approach to Measurement - 2003 Edition
- Price, Availability and Affordability - An International Comparison of Chronic Disease Medicines
- WHO Operational package for assessing, monitoring and evaluating country pharmaceutical situations
- Essential Drugs Monitor 33 - Essential medicines: prices and people