Policy toolbox for local production and access to medicines

Guidance on ensuring policy coherence for policy makers and development practitioners

Pharmacists ordering medicines

What do investment, trade, intellectual property, health financing, R&D, industrial and medicines regulation policy have in common? They are all important building blocks for the successful promotion of local pharmaceutical manufacturing. As more and more countries are looking into building their own pharmaceutical production capacities, they need to ensure strong policy coherence to be successful.

Done right, local pharmaceutical manufacturing can be an important part of a country’s health system by shortening supply chains, building emergency capacity and aligning production specifics more with the domestic population. Bangladesh’s success of producing 80% of the country’s demand for medicines or Brazil’s experience of issuing compulsory licenses to locally produce patent-protected and expensive medicines in times of an HIV epidemic are great examples how a local industry can serve public health goals. Yet, if public health policies are not in sync with industrial policies, access to medicines may not improve. Here is India: having built up one of the largest generic pharmaceutical industries worldwide, yet showing low access to medicines domestically.

So, how do policy makers ensure that local pharmaceutical production is supported without undermining the public health need for cheap (imported) medicines? And how do states match their ambition with their commitments to the rules of international trade? The “Tool Box for Policy Coherence in Access to Medicines and Local Pharmaceutical Production” gives answers for policy makers and development professionals. Living up to its title, the document offers hands-on policy advice, with many case studies and a tableau of solutions to specific problems. The Toolbox was published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and funded by the Global Project “Access to Medicines”, implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

November 2017

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