The prices that end-users pay for antimalarial medicines, insecticide-treated nets and other supplies vary considerably between public sectors of different countries, between public and private sectors and also within the private sector. Significant price variations have also been found between generic medicines and their brand-name equivalents and even between different brands of the same medicine. For instance, a recent survey found that per-tablet prices of megloquine varied from a low of US$ 0.54 for a generic product in Uganda’s public sector to US$ 8.10 for a brand-name product in a private pharmacy in the United Republic of Tanzania12.
12 Myhr K. Comparing Prices of Essential Drugs between Four Countries in East Africa and with International Prices (available at www.accessmed-msf.org)
Figure 1: Malaria’s global grip
Source: World Health Organization, 2002
The primary aim of this report is to provide information on suppliers of products for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria and the prices of these products, in order to assist government and UN agencies to make decisions on the procurement of such products. Without this information, countries may end up paying more than necessary to obtain these essential products. It is hoped that this document will complement a similar one published jointly by UNICEF, UNAIDS, WHO and MSF that provides sources/prices data on HIV/AIDS diagnostics and medicines13.
13Sources and Prices of Selected Medicines and Diagnostics for People Living with HIV/AIDS. Geneva, WHO, 2003 (WHO/EDM/ PAR/2003.7)
Information on sources and prices, although important, addresses only one barrier to access to malaria prevention and treatment products in poor countries. Readers will appreciate that other important issues such as health infrastructure, human resources, taxes, and supply and distribution systems must also be considered.