środa, 29 maja 2013
Dostęp do leków
Tekst mojego wystąpienia na konferencji pt. Access to medicines:what should the industry contribute? /współorganizowanej przez European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations/, 29 maja 2013 w Brukseli.
Thank you and welcome. It is a pleasure to welcome such a distinguished panel and I am glad to have the opportunity to speak alongside these panelists.
There have been many innovative and groundbreaking achievements in global public health since the start of this century. This has been largely due to the increased and timely delivery of medicines and vaccines to populations around the world, particularly in the developing world. European investment in global health is saving lives. Funding at the European level has directly resulted in over 5 million children being vaccinated against measles, 5000 new health centres have been built, 750,000 people have received anti-retroviral treatment and over 7 million people have received a bed net in the developing world.
However regardless of past successes, the fact remains that 90% of people in poor and under developed countries are not covered by public or private insurance schemes and must therefore pay for their medicines out of their own pocket. In poor countries, medicines can account for as much as 80% of a family's spending on health. In these circumstances an illness in the family can bring economic devastation. The cost of treatment for chronic diseases is particularly unaffordable because of the need for lifelong treatment which is very difficult for those who only have short-term financial resources.
To illustrate how international efforts help, consider that despite the global economic downturn, two major advances in financing essential medicines occurred in 2011. In September 2011, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) announced that it will provide significant new and additional funding to introduce a variety of vaccination programmes. A total of 37 new beneficiary countries will now receive these vaccination programmes of which 24 are inAfrica. This development has been made possible through major public and private donations pledged to GAVI in June 2011, and the expansion of its vaccination programmes is planned in the near future. Secondly, the Global Fund, created in 2002, had become the main source of funding for programmes to combat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. To date, programmes supported by the Global Fund have saved an estimated 7.7 million lives by providing HIV treatment for 3.3 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 8.6 million people, and insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria to 230 million people. However, as a result of the global economic downturn, in late 2011, the Global Fund Board reassessed earlier financial forecasts and set up a Transitional Funding Mechanism designed to support Global Fund programmes that may face significant programme disruption of essential services and programmes. The Global Fund is forecast to have $1.6 billion in additional funds available as a result to disburse between 2012 and 2014; not least as a result of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the issuance of a promissory note for $750 million in order to strengthen its finances. These two examples illustrate how channeling resources into the health sector generates immediate results.
Finally. remember that the World Health Organisation states that almost 80 percent of deaths from chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer occur in low and middle-income countries. With this in mind it is of paramount importance that we, as policy makers, continue to work to foster an environment that will allow countries to exit this recurring tragedy, and when we consider a framework or strategy for the developing world that we work to involve commercial pharmaceutical enterprise and also indigenous smaller business as well as the governments of those countries.
A recent UN report on progress toward the Millennium Development Goals finds that despite a greater focus on health issues by the international community, little progress has been seen in achieving better access to essential medicines. Essential medicines remain unaffordable and insufficiently accessible to the poor. International initiatives will continue to help increase the supply of affordable medicines but other developments must also happen for a long term viable solution and in this regard the pharmaceutical industry has a large role to play. Local production of medicines in developing countries can reduce production costs. This will depend on enhancing the capacity of these countries and being more flexible in trade arrangements, but will also I feel depend on how we can encourage the pharmaceutical industry to take a lead in tackling this issue in these regions of the world. As such the co-operative inclusion and participation of developing countries and the pharmaceutical industry generally will be critical in strengthening the global partnership to increase access to essential medicines.
I think we can have an interesting and insightful discussion about the issues we face today and what the next steps should be when we look for, among other things, increased strategic co-operation across all levels.