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Access to medicines

Worker in a pharmaceutical manufacturing site

Access to medicines and health products of good quality is a core element of Universal Health Coverage. The United Nations estimates that in 2014 1.2 million AIDS-related deaths could have been avoided if these patients had had better access to medicines.

There are various barriers: Prices are often too high for patients or governments to afford sufficient treatment, particularly where new medicines fall under patent protection. Where regulatory capacities are insufficient low quality medical products can cause serious harm. In other cases medicines fail to reach patients due to insufficient supply-chains and production shortages on the global market.

German Development Cooperation addresses these issues on many different levels:

  • Germany is a major contributor to multilateral programmes like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
  • A number of bilateral and multilateral programmes focus on improving the quality of medicines in partner countries by working together with regulatory bodies and the private sector alike.
  • An important approach for Germany is to support the development of a local pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in developing countries to increase independence and to connect industry with health objectives.

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