Challenges and Concerns

Access to Essential Medicines and Intellectual Property Issues



One third of the world’s population still lacks access to essential drugs.

Medicines are the largest health expense for poorer households and the 2nd largest public health cost.

The price of drugs in a free market bears no relation to the ability of people to pay.
Many countries still lack effective national drug policies.


Big_BucksGood quality, affordable medicines must be available

The provision, marketing and sale of sub-standard, counterfeit, inappropriate and often dangerous drugs occurs, especially in developing countries, accompanied by:

  • Costly, high pressure marketing and promotional methods by multi-national drug companies;
  • Excessive profit-taking, monopoly practice and other market abuse;
  • The provision of inadequate and often misleading information to doctors about the products they were encouraged to prescribe.

To explore the World Health Organisation Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) site on Essential Medicines and Pharmaceuticals Policy click here

Intellectual Property Issues
 CSOs concerned over timing of IP policy review in India
Published in SUNS #7881 dated 25 September 2014
TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Sept14/11) 26 September 2014
Third World Network
Geneva, 24 Sep (Kanaga Raja) — Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States, a number of civil society organisations (CSOs) and prominent individuals in India have raised concerns over the timing of a Ministry-level review of the country’s intellectual property rights (IPR) policy.
The groups underlined that India’s IPR policy is TRIPS-compliant, and that India chose to use the health safeguards available in the TRIPS Agreement, to protect the interests of Indian patients as well as millions of people living in other developing countries.
The law requires that patented inventions are available to the public at affordable prices as well as obligates the patent holders to work their patents in India. By making use of flexibilities in the TRIPS agreement, the Indian Patents Act and policy reduce options to pharmaceutical companies, be they Indian or foreign, to profit from diseases or those suffering from them.
“The Indian law has stood the test of time and judicial scrutiny. It is also increasingly serving as model legislation for many developing countries including Brazil,” the statement stressed. The CSOs are concerned about the implications of the Minister’s statement, linking innovation with strengthened IP protection. Read more here