100 million people become poor every year due to out of pocket expenditure on healthcare across the globe, says the World Health Organization.
The WHO says that the non-affordability of drugs has long been a concern for developing nations, but today it has become a concern for every country. The problem extends to older medicines whose patents have expired, such as insulin for diabetes.
Dr Mariangele Simao, WHO Assistant Director General for Medicines and Health Products, said that medical innovations have little social value if people can’t get its benefits. This issue is a global human rights issue. Everyone has a right to access to quality healthcare.
To tackle this issue, delegates from different countries have called for greater transparency around the cost of research and development as well as production of drugs to allow buyers to negotiate more affordable prices.
This call for transparency was made at a recently held global forum on fair pricing and access to medicines at Johannesburg, South Africa. The forum was organized jointly by the WHO and Government of South Africa.
The objective of the event was to provide a place for frank discussion among all stakeholders including civil society organizations, governments and the pharmaceutical industry in order to identify strategies to reduce medicine prices and expand access for all.