Millennium Development Goal 8. The Global Partnership for Development at a Critical Juncture. MDG Gap Task Force Report 2010. United Nations, New York
(2010; 102 pages) [Arabic] [Chinese] [French] [Russian] [Spanish]

The world economy is recovering from its most severe downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The recovery is still very fragile and uneven, however...Providing greater access to essential medicines continues to be extremely urgent and challenging. While some countries showed some progress, on the whole, little recent improvement has been made in providing affordable access to medicines in developing countries. Availability of essential medicines in developing countries continues to be low, especially medicines to treat chronic diseases. This is of particular concern in low-income countries, where chronic diseases have become a main cause of mortality and are putting enormous burdens on the economic conditions of households and national health systems. In developing countries, essential medicines are typically available at prices only many times higher than international reference prices. Owing to low availability in the public sector, out-of-pocket expenditure is the major source of pharmaceutical payments in low- and middle-income countries. As a result, many medicines, even the lowest-priced generic medicines for chronic and acute diseases, remain unaffordable for many people in developing countries. In highincome countries, in contrast, public funding or mainly employer-based health insurance covers the cost of most medicines. More progress has been made in providing medicines in the fight against acute diseases in developing countries. Enhanced provision of antiretroviral therapy as a prevention strategy for HIV has had a large impact on reducing the viral load of patients living with AIDS. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has provided treatments free of charge to patients and helped stem the prevalence of such diseases. There have been setbacks as well, including in the form of the spread of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis. Furthermore, in many countries, the capacity to respond to the AIDS epidemic has been diminished because of falling household incomes and reduced government revenues which have led to cuts in budgets for HIV/AIDS programmes. The impact of the financial crisis on access to medicines has been mixed. While pharmaceutical consumption did not fall, prices and expenditure on medicines have increased...

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