Third Meeting on Access to Medicines Under Universal Health Coverage in Asia Pacific Region. 22-23 September 2016, Seoul, Republic of Korea
(2016; 73 pages)

Abstract

Medicines and health technologies are central to achieving equitable access to quality health services and the risk protection goals of universal health coverage (UHC). The financing, pricing, and reimbursement of medicines and health technologies have been major challenges for many countries. Medicines are often not covered or inadequately covered in benefit packages and health financing schemes, resulting in high out-of-pocket (OPP) payments. Efficient medicines management policies are also crucial for the financial sustainability of health systems.

To assist Member States in improving the efficiency of their medicines and health technology management systems, the establishment of the Asia Pacific Network on Access to Medicines under Universal Health Coverage was proposed at the first Meeting on Access to Medicines under Universal Health Coverage in the Asia Pacific Region, which was held in 2014. At the second meeting in 2015, Member States formally established the network. Also at the second meeting, Member States shared information on how pharmaceutical systems are organized in each country, what medicines are covered by government procurement and national health insurance schemes, and the processes involved, such as pharmacoeconomic evaluation. The third meeting, in September 2016, focused on improved access to high-cost essential medicines by exchanging information on regulation, benefit-package inclusion, procurement and reimbursement mechanisms, and financing options.

The objectives of the meeting were:

1) to share challenges and barriers in accessing high-cost essential medicines in terms of regulation, patent status, procurement and reimbursement processes, and financing mechanism;

2) to understand the processes in which high-cost essential medicines are included in the public financing schemes and to learn from successful implementation strategies; and

3) to prioritize options for the region to improve access to affordable generics for selected high-cost essential medicines.

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