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Lack of Access to Essential Medicines in Developing Countries

Illustration for article titled Lack of Access to Essential Medicines in Developing Countries

World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the lack of medicines in many developing and poor countries around the world. Moreover, in as much as there are lack of it, there is also scarcity of financial assistance to provide them with adequate medicine subscriptions since these countries are more prone to health dangers and thus need more ration. They also lack technologies to help them diagnose their own ailments and the hospital or clinic, if there are any, may be miles away from them. WHO is also warning developed countries that if assistance is not extended, ailments which can be malignant can be carried into their borders.

In countries for which there is information, the availability of medicines is only one third. From where there are private clinics, the percentage is higher. Fortunately, there is already progress in a number of countries in providing essential medicines to their citizens made possible through partnership with the government, pharmaceutical companies, non-profit organizations and individual entities. The role of pharmaceutical companies is important, ranging from multinational to generic manufacturers to national distributors.

Priority and essential medicines are those that respond to the most basic ailment and sickness such as antibiotics and pain killers. They are intended to be available within the context of functioning health system at all times in adequate amounts, in the appropriate dosage forms, with assured quality which the community can afford.

It is, however, reviewed that counterfeit medicines are most prevalent in these countries. According to the Peterson Group, an international NGO which campaigns against the proliferation of fraud medicines, the number of counterfeits has been surpassing those of legitimate medicines and is being patronized because of its cheap price despite bearing no active ingredient at all. Black and fly-by-night markets for medicines are rampant in most of the Middle East including India, Pakistan and Turkey as well as in South East Asia especially in Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand. News of thousands of dollars-worth of counterfeit Tamiflu were seized as they were being imported to Jakarta using the loose borders of Malaysia and East Timor towards Southern Java last September.

These fraud operations were driven by the need to have sufficient medicines for those in need.

Both WHO, which is mostly concerned on the quality of health care and World Trade Organization (WTO) which is focused mostly on the economic aspect crazily flustered by this illegal lucrative business are extending their efforts to lessen the issue.


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