Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Two billion men and women in developing countries cannot get essential medicines

 

Developing countries

Image via Wikipedia Developing Countries

Two billion men and women in developing countries cannot get essential medicines

November 21, 2011 – Two billion men and women in developing countries cannot get essential medicines
Once Every Seven Years World Experts Meet to Discuss Misuse of Medicines in Low- and Middle Income Countries. Eight Indonesian Researchers Attended this Prestigious Meeting.

From the InfoHub Web page

Once Every Seven Years World Experts Meet to Discuss Misuse of Medicines in Low- and Middle Income Countries

  • High medicine costs push 150 million people below the poverty line each year
  • In many low- and middle income countries, one month of life-saving insulin treatment for diabetes may cost half a month’s salary
  • In one Asian country, 42% of medicine costs is spent on bribing the doctors
  • In Oman, misuse of antibiotic use has been reduced by half since 1995
  • Cell phone messages remind East-African AIDS patients to take their medicines

When Catherine Adwoa suddenly fainted and fell ill, her mother first thought she had AIDS. But when she was rushed to the district hospital, she was relieved to hear that that was not the case. The doctor told the 17-year old schoolgirl she had diabetes.

But her father knew immediately that his life would never be the same again. From now on, the daily injections of insulin for his daughter would cost him half his salary. Like in most other African countries medicines for AIDS are free, but treatment for diabetes is not. Hospitals rarely have the injections in stock, so he would have to go around private pharmacies to get the life-saving medicine for the rest of his life, which meant there would be no money left to pay for school fees.

Over 600 world experts on essential medicines met in Antalya, Turkey for the Third International Conference on Improving the Use of Medicines (ICIUM). They heard several similar stories from developing countries from all over the world – how life-saving treatments for malaria are not available in private pharmacies of East Africa; how unscrupulous local manufacturers continue to produce and promote malaria drugs that the World Health Organization has recommended be taken off the market because they lead to resistance; and how 42% of the price of medicines in one Asian country is spent on bribing the doctors.

Delegates from over 80 countries who attended ICIUM also learned that more people in developing countries die from chronic diseases such as hypertension, asthma and diabetes, than from infectious diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis. Unfortunately very few governments do anything about it.

But there was also good news. The medicines for a year of treatment of such chronic diseases cost less than $6 dollars – provided they are bought as generic (off-patent) medicines and provided the local distributor, the pharmacist and the doctor do not add another 10 or 20 dollars to the price. …

…Special attention was given to the needs of the people in countries of the “Arab Spring” with examples of constitutional text from other countries reflecting access to essential medicines as part of human rights….

…The World Health Organization estimates that about one third of the world’s population – around 2 billion people – does not have regular access to essential medicines. …

 

 

December 23, 2011 - Posted by | Public Health | , , ,

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