|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 267-268
Improving the accessibility and availability of the essential medicines: World health organization
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2
1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||13-Feb-2020|
|Date of Decision||12-Mar-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||26-Mar-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||10-Jul-2020|
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District, Tamil Nadu - 603 108
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Improving the accessibility and availability of the essential medicines: World health organization. Curr Med Issues 2020;18:267-8
|How to cite this URL:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Improving the accessibility and availability of the essential medicines: World health organization. Curr Med Issues [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 18];18:267-8. Available from: https://www.cmijournal.org/text.asp?2020/18/3/267/289406
Essential medicines refer to those medicines which meet the healthcare needs of a major section of the general population. At the same time, it is a fact that most of the people across the globe fail to have regular access to these essential medicines. This could be because of the deficient financial investment from the government, poor inventory control in health-care facilities, weaknesses in the primary healthcare, flaws in the existing policies to respond to out-of-pocket expenditures, etc., In the global mission to attain universal health coverage, regular access to an affordable and adequate number of medicines and vaccines has been strongly envisaged.
It is vital to acknowledge that with the gradual gains accomplished by the nations towards universal health coverage and availability of affordable medicines, the next most important thing will be to ensure the presence of correct diagnostic tools, which in turn will aid in the delivery of appropriate treatment. The World Health Organization has been involved in releasing the list of essential medicines for more than four decades now. The released documents aid the nations to prioritize a selected set of the health products which should be made universally available at affordable costs throughout the health-care delivery systems.
The essential medicines list has been updated even this year, and specific modifications have been made in the field of treatment of cancer based on therapeutic benefits, strengthening of antibiotic use based on the AWARE category concept, the introduction of new oral anticoagulants, etc. The second list of essential diagnostics has also been released, and the list has been widened to cover a number of lifestyle diseases such as cancers and infectious diseases (namely, neglected diseases, influenza). The list includes drugs (such as carbamazepine, dapsone, and insulin), vaccines (such as measles vaccine, rubella vaccine, and tetanus vaccine) and diagnostic tests (namely, hemoglobin levels for anemia, HIV 1/2 antibody for HIV testing). In addition, the emphasis has been given toward the introduction of screening test for safe blood donation and detection of thyroid dysfunction and sickle cell anemia.
The need of the hour is to ensure improvement in the accessibility and affordability of the essential medicines. This could be accomplished by ensuring the wide adoption of biosimilars, which tend to have a major financial impact on the health system by reducing the cost of new cancer treatments and immune modifying agents. At the same time, efforts should be taken to expand the role of medicines patent pool beyond the drugs used for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis, especially for the newer drugs to make them more affordable. In addition, the scope of pooled procurement and tendering has to be explored in detail through the employment of the square box concept.
In an attempt to improve the usage of medical services and to minimize health expenditures, the Chinese government adopted a nation-wide essential medicine policy, which enabled the distribution of all the essential drugs at subsidized costs. This resulted in reduced out-of-pocket expenditures and helped all the sections of society. Furthermore, the provisions of the trade-related intellectual property can also be utilized for ensuring better access to medicines and the betterment of public health. Furthermore, the national policymakers can take a call for setting the price of the essential drugs, but obviously, it will require support from the different stakeholders.,, There is a big-time need to strengthen the different aspects of drug management, including procurement, storage, supply, and usage.
In conclusion, essential medicines and diagnostics list are an effective approach to not only benefit the patients but also in the long run help nations to accomplish universal health coverage.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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