How To as oppose to How Much—the Use of Money in Solving Problems in Access to Pharmaceutical Supplies

The World Health Organization defines Essential Medicines are “those drugs that satisfy the health care needs of the majority of the population.” These medical supplies should be available at all times in adequate amounts and in appropriate dosage forms, at a price the community can afford. About a third of the world’s population, or roughly two billion people, lacks even the most basic access to essential medicines. Each year an estimated 25 million individuals, 10 million of them children, die of treatable and preventable disease—disease that can otherwise be averted should these people receive medical supplies listed as essential medicine.

Pharmaceutical companies have medicines. The problem is that many don’t have the money to buy them. Many experts believe the poorest people in the world often lacked the money to purchase medicines and other health technologies. And their poverty is exacerbated by the high prices they often confront, particularly for new technologies—new medicines, new devices, new diagnostics. And because of the lack of financial resources, people from low income countries experience a breakdown in accessing the essential medical supplies. When individuals could not afford the price of essential medicines, then government should step in. If government could only devote a limited amount of financial resources, then the government should use this money to maximize DALY aversion.

Because the lack the money is one of the greatest block on access to medicine and saving lives is the ultimate goal, then it is logical that any solution to be had in dealing with lack of access should focus on maximize the use of the money—getting the biggest bang for the bucks. As it is mentioned by Karen Grepin blog, across the globe, funding to cure diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria occupy around eighty percent of the total funding. Other high DALY burden disease such as pneumonia and diarrhea related illness. Averting DALY due to HIV/AIDS is high cost when compared to pneumonia and diarrhea. I believe re-diverting resources to these areas can achieve much high return.

Because we ultimately want to get the medicine into the hands of people who need it, then knowing the demand is also crucial in solving the problem of access. This requires a strong coordination and cooperation between local distribution sites and central distribution. For a government of low-income country, where sickness and mortality rate are high compare to high-income country, it is especially important to get demographic information right—this is especially true if the governments’ focuses were on solving problems that were irrelevant to its need. While collecting data from local government health agency can provide valuable insights to the need of individual community, collaborating with foreign aid agencies and NGO could also be highly beneficial; government would compare its data with others to accurately determine the demographics.


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