Report Identifies Gaps in Developing Countries’ Access to Medicines

Access to treatments for underserved populations in developing countries has improved over the years, however, inequities persist – particularly for cancer drugs. In a new report, the nonprofit organization Access to Medicine Foundation (AMF) found that drug makers seeking to more equitably distribute medications mostly focus on drugs to treat communicable diseases like HIV and typically focus efforts in large emerging markets such as Brazil and China.

Only five companies (GSK, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Sanofi) are conducting the majority (63%) of research and development for medicines identified as “high-priority” for people in developing countries, “creating a fragile ecosystem where cutbacks by one player could have a significant impact on future supplies,” according to Reuters.

“The gaps are still plenty,” Jayasree Iyer, executive director of AMF, told Reuters. “Some people believe that new, innovative products for cancer will never reach the developing world – but we think it will happen and the companies planning for that will be able to offer the right medicines to the right people.”

Source: Reuters, November 20, 2018.