Medicine prices, availability, and affordability in 36 developing and middle-income countries: a secondary analysis.
ABSTRACT WHO and Health Action International (HAI) have developed a standardised method for surveying medicine prices, availability, affordability, and price components in low-income and middle-income countries. Here, we present a secondary analysis of medicine availability in 45 national and subnational surveys done using the WHO/HAI methodology.
Data from 45 WHO/HAI surveys in 36 countries were adjusted for inflation or deflation and purchasing power parity. International reference prices from open international procurements for generic products were used as comparators. Results are presented for 15 medicines included in at least 80% of surveys and four individual medicines.
Average public sector availability of generic medicines ranged from 29.4% to 54.4% across WHO regions. Median government procurement prices for 15 generic medicines were 1.11 times corresponding international reference prices, although purchasing efficiency ranged from 0.09 to 5.37 times international reference prices. Low procurement prices did not always translate into low patient prices. Private sector patients paid 9-25 times international reference prices for lowest-priced generic products and over 20 times international reference prices for originator products across WHO regions. Treatments for acute and chronic illness were largely unaffordable in many countries. In the private sector, wholesale mark-ups ranged from 2% to 380%, whereas retail mark-ups ranged from 10% to 552%. In countries where value added tax was applied to medicines, the amount charged varied from 4% to 15%.
Overall, public and private sector prices for originator and generic medicines were substantially higher than would be expected if purchasing and distribution were efficient and mark-ups were reasonable. Policy options such as promoting generic medicines and alternative financing mechanisms are needed to increase availability, reduce prices, and improve affordability.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Dennis Ross-Degnan, Oct 19, 2014
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ABSTRACT: In response to the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a Global Action Plan that includes a voluntary medicines target of 80% availability and affordability of essential medicines for the prevention and treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease both in public and private health facilities. Reliable measures of medicines availability are needed to track progress towards meeting this target. The results of three studies measuring the availability of medicines for hypertension and diabetes conducted in Tanzania in 2012-2013 were compared to assess the consistency of the results across the studies. Availability was defined by observation of the medicine (no minimum quantity) on the day of the survey. The three studies involved 24, 107 and 1297 health facilities. Estimates of the availability of medicines for hypertension and diabetes were compared for medicines availability overall, by managing authority (government, mission/faith-based, private-for-profit), by facility level (hospital, health centre, dispensary) and by setting (urban, rural). Comparisons of the availability of medicines were limited by differences in the definitions of the medicines and the classifications of the facilities surveyed. Metformin was variously reported as available in 33%, 39%, 46%, and 57% of facilities. Glibenclamide availability ranged from 19% to 52%. One study reported low levels of insulin availability (9-16% depending on insulin type) compared to 34% in a second study. Captopril (or angiotensin converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitor) availability ranged from 13% to 48%while availability of calcium channel blockers was 29% to 57% and beta-blockers 15% to 50%. Trends were similar across studies with lower availability in government compared to mission or private facilities, in dispensary and health centres compared to hospitals, and in rural compared to urban facilities. All three studies showed suboptimal availability of NCD medicines, however the estimates of availability differed. Regular monitoring using reproducible methods and measuring key medicines must replace ad-hoc studies, small selected samples and differences in definitions. Low and middle-income countries need to implement monitoring and evaluation systems to track progress towards meeting the NCD medicines target and to inform country-level interventions to improve access to NCD medicines.Globalization and Health 05/2015; 11(1):18. DOI:10.1186/s12992-015-0105-0 · 1.83 Impact Factor
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