Regional Pooled Procurement of Essential Medicines in the Western Pacific Region: an Asset or a Liability?
(2010; 35 pages)

Abstract

The international development community considers lack of access to medicines as one of the major factors that contribute to millions of deaths. Although innovative approaches (cost-containment strategies) have been developed to ensure a consistent and sustainable supply, access to essential medicines remains a major public health problem in developing countries, particularly in many countries in the Western Pacific Region. The paper will explore the capacity and potential of pooled procurement in the region. Using Nancy Fraser’s strands of social justice and conceptual tools as theoretical foundations, the study employs two sets of methodologies: an examination of the procurement system, political landscape and institutional arrangements of two sub-regions in the WPR (South East Asia and Pacific Island Countries), and the utilisation of a qualitative approach (via “virtual interviewing”) to solicit primary data. The study concludes that pooled procurement (in the context of a cost-containment strategy) can serve the interests of developing countries in the region. However, several issues such as administrative costs, lack of political will, and political embargoes outweigh the benefits associated with this strategy. Therefore, the viability of pooled procurement in the region appears to be unworkable at the moment. The study offers suggestions regarding how pooled procurement might have a role to play in the future.

 
The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: October 29, 2018