Pharma industry outlines plan to tackle NCDs

Developing countries need more access to treatments

Effective medicines for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now available in generic form, but, in many instances, they are failing to reach many people living in the developing world, reveals a new industry report.

The RAND Health report1, Improving Access to Medicines for Non-Communicable Diseases in the Developing World, published to coincide with the United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs, taking place in New York this week (19-20 September), and sponsored by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations’ (IFPMA), identifies a four-step action plan that the research-based pharmaceutical industry could take to address this problem and improve access to NCD medicines in developing countries.

The four steps to consider are:

  • innovative ways to improve NCD medicine adherence, including research into the viability of fixed-dose combination products (polypills) for NCD treatment;
  • overcoming barriers to availability in poor and remote areas where large mark-ups, tax and duties along the supply chain, as well as counterfeit products, are an issue;
  • improving access to primary care;
  • removing regulatory restrictions that hamper medicine availability in developing countries.

Fifty per cent of NCDs are avoidable, so prevention measures, including lifestyle modifications – doing more physical exercise, stopping smoking and a healthy diet – are some of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to tackle the magnitude of NCDs across the developing world. However, while prevention is imperative and cost-effective, its impact can only be felt over the longer term, said IFPMA director general Eduardo Pisani.

‘We also need to know how best to improve access to treatments that patients in developing countries need more urgently,’ he added.

1. http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP349.html

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