WHO Says One-Third of World’s Population Lacks Access to Necessary Drugs
One-third of the world's population does not have access to essential life-saving medicines, despite recent campaigns to make these drugs more widely available, the World Health Organization stated yesterday, Reuters/Los Angeles Times reports. Jonathan Quick, head of WHO's essential medicines project, said that two billion people "can't regularly get medicines when they need them, at a quality they trust and at a price they or their community can afford." The WHO Essential Medicines List lists more than 300 medicines deemed by the agency to be essential to public health (Reuters/Los Angeles Times, 10/22). The list, which is updated every two years, contains 12 antiretroviral drugs: abacavir, didanosine, efavirenz, indinavir, lamivudine, lopinavir, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir (low-dose), saquinavir, stavudine and zidovudine (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/23). The list is meant to guide developing nations and international health organizations on what drugs should be available and the recommended quality and prices for such medicines. Bernard Pecoul of Doctors Without Borders said that patents, particularly on AIDS drugs, boost the cost of medicines beyond the reach of the governments and people of developing nations (Reuters/Los Angeles Times, 10/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.