Bitter Pill: Obstacles to Affordable Medicine

UGANDA: Distribution Policy Means Not Enough Drugs for Clinics

The nurse at Najembe Health Centre in Buikwe district says the centre’s supply of malaria drugs will be finished in two days. A malaria epidemic has hit the area and the demand for the drugs is high. But the centre, which serves the entire sub-county, will have to wait up to six weeks before their supply will be replenished.

Another Push for Reproductive Rights

By 2015, women demanding family planning products and services in the developing world will likely reach 933 million, a terrific increase from the current 818 million women demanding access to these basic reproductive commodities.

Prices for DR-TB drugs remain too high worldwide.  Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

HEALTH: High Drug Prices Hamper Drug-Resistant TB Treatment

Access to treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) remains compromised, especially in developing countries, because too few pharmaceutical companies manufacture quality-assured drugs. Lack of competition has led to skyrocketing prices and this means that public health budgets are quickly spent.

Regulators say many of the drugs sold on the informal markets in Sierra Leone are fake or substandard, posing a huge risk to the public.  Credit: Poindexter Sama/IPS

SIERRA LEONE: Substandard and Counterfeit Drugs Flood the Market

Bubble-wrapped pills are scattered across the crude table in a busy market beside crumpled boxes of lubricant, paracetamol and anti-fungal powder.

Mental Health Work in Humanitarian Crises

When the devastating ‘Boxing Day' tsunami hit Sri Lanka in December 2004, claiming over 35,000 lives and rendering 1.5 million people homeless, the World Health Organization (WHO) was confronted by a second disaster soon after it arrived to begin relief efforts in early January.

Juane K. Nabieu, a community health officer in the district

SIERRA LEONE: A Quarter of Vital Donated Drugs Missing or Stolen

Three-year-old David bolts up from his feverish stooper as a needle pricks his thumb, producing a tiny bead of blood. He looks down horrified but is too exhausted to cry and falls back into his mother's lap as the blood is wiped away

Africa Becoming More Attractive to Indian and Other Investors

A reduction in red tape and an improvement in political conditions means that sub-Saharan Africa is becoming a more attractive destination for foreign direct investment, especially from India.

IBSA: Pro-Western Mindset Hinders India-Brazil Pharma Deals

Cooperation between India and Brazil in pharmaceuticals and medical biotechnology has begun to falter, because Indian authorities would rather collaborate with western counterparts than those in developing countries, new research shows.

UGANDA: The Value of Immunisation Programmes

GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunisation, secured pledges of 4.3 billion dollars from donors in London on Jun. 13 with the aim of securing funding to ensure life-saving vaccinations for every child on the planet.

The antiretrovirals government seeks to change. Credit: Charles Mpaka

MALAWI: Fears of Sustainability of New ART Regime

As government prepares to roll out the expensive new antiretroviral treatment regime recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) this month, there are fears about the programme’s sustainability after two recent proposals for funding were rejected by the Global Fund.

A medical expert at the Kakamega General Hospital opens a cabinet with antiretrovirals. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

HEALTH: A Phone Call Could Provide HIV/AIDS Treatment

Soon chatting to ones friends or family over a mobile phone could mean that an HIV positive person will receive sustainable antiretroviral treatment (ART) that could prolong their life. That is if civil society in Kenya has its way.

HEALTH: Poor States Should Start Campaign to Extend Patent Rights

Pharmaceutical industries in emerging markets are shifting their focus away from poor to developed countries, which will affect access to cheap generic medicines. Poor states should tackle this development by capitalising on the international trade exemptions they still enjoy regarding medicines as "intellectual property".

MALAWI: Rural Areas Still Struggle to Access Medicines

In the shade of a leafy mango tree at the rural Chipho Health Centre in Thyolo, southern Malawi, Melifa Faison sits looking frequently down the road hoping to see an ambulance. Lying beside her is her 6-year-old daughter, weak with malaria.

HEALTH: Money Needed for ART Funding

Fixed targets for universal access to AIDS treatment and funding to make it achievable are what HIV and AIDS organisations want from the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session due to be held in New York next month.

The drugs subsidised through the Affordable Medicines Facility - malaria.  Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

KENYA: Small Profit Margin Hinders Access to Subsidised Anti-malarial Drugs

On the streets of Nairobi James Odhiambo goes from one pharmacy to the next in search of anti-malarial drugs marked with the Global Fund’s logo of a green leaf. He is looking for this specific brand because he understands that it is more than ten times cheaper than the same drug produced by different manufacturers.

Protestors in New Delhi, India, demonstrating against the EU-India trade. Credit: Rico Gustav, APN+/Médecins Sans Frontières

EU Trade Deal with India Stalemated by Threat to Affordable Drugs

More than four years after the EU started negotiating a trade agreement with India, the process has been pushed to a stalemate by the EU’s stubborn insistence in maintaining the so-called data exclusivity clause, despite fierce opposition by Indian government negotiators and Indian and EU non- governmental organisations (NGOs).

Rally against the India-EU FTA by HIV positive people in New Delhi. Credit: Mudit Mathur/IPS

INDIA: EU Trade Deal May Curb Affordable Drug Supply

As India prepares to seal a sweeping trade and investment deal with the European Union (EU) in April, civil society groups are campaigning to limit the agreement's repercussions within the local generic drug industry here upon which millions of people around the globe depend.

Medicine Alliance Fighting Corruption in Zambia

"I had always associated corruption with politics and business," laments Chalwe Kabwesha. "When I failed to access ARVs and TB drugs at our clinic because of corruption, I got worried."

KENYA: Civil Society Defends Access to Generic Drugs

Access to affordable medicine for millions of people in the South could be at risk if the production and distribution of generic medicine from India is restricted.

Children collecting used syringes outside a hospital in Karachi. Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim

PAKISTAN: Injecting Disease With Medicine

Once every two weeks, 45-year-old Perween Riaz enters a place with a sign outside that says "Ghazi Medical Centre" where she gets injections for headache and nausea from someone people know is not a real doctor.

SOUTH AFRICA: Delayed Drug Registration Could Affect Region

Delays in drug registration by the country's Medicines Control Council (MCC), contribute to depriving South African HIV patients of important fixed dose combination antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. But there are indications that the effects of the delays are being felt even farther afield.

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