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Accessing Medicines in Africa and South Asia

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Improving access to medicines

Accessibility to medicines is lacking in developing countries because of inefficiencies along the route from supplier to customer. An EU initiative traced seven different drugs along the entire supply chain in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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Researchers chose India, South Africa and Uganda to assess the affordability of drugs for major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and diabetes, as well as for reproductive health, mental health and pain management. The EU-funded project 'Accessing medicines in Africa and south Asia' (AMASA) aimed to identify how patenting, drug regulations, foreign donations, and the availability of production and medical facilities affected access to medicines. To achieve this, the project mapped the production, distribution, supply and consumption of medicines in key health care areas. Researchers examined how these supply chains were factors in accessing essential medicines in African and south Asian countries. They published a report that identified central early and late actors in the distribution chains, and how medicines reached the consumer. The focus was mainly on Brazilian, Chinese and Indian exporters. Project members focused on seven drugs in the various health care domains along the supply chain. This resulted in an analysis that provides background information on each of the seven medicines based on their respective public health situation. The document looks at public health from an international and a country-based perspective. This was instrumental in exploring the complicated pharmaceutical supply chain for each medicine within its given domain. AMASA brought its findings to the attention of policymakers, and presented concrete approaches for how such findings should drive policy and action in the focus countries. The project's work has implications for other developing countries as well, and it will serve as a useful toolkit for both national and international actors involved in access to essential medicines.


Medicines, developing countries, supply chain, accessing medicines, health care

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