Civil Society Groups Use COVID To Build Stronger Narrative For Equal Access
The divide between developed and developing countries for access to health care innovations has been spotlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Civil society groups pile on the pressure.
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The race to develop COVID-19 vaccines is intensifying long-standing debate over the ability of lower-income countries to gain affordable access to needed medical treatments. Patient advocates argue that drug makers and wealthy governments are striking deals that place poor countries at a disadvantage. The pharmaceutical industry, however, maintains it is moving as quickly as possible to not only discover safe and effective vaccines, but to enable equitable distribution.
Some believe unmet need refers only to rare diseases and tiny patient populations. But it is more than this. In 2020, the term sits at the heart of decision-making for drug makers – along with cost, access and value, of course.
Over the past few years, frustrating instances of shortages and recalls – particularly generics – have been blamed on inferior quality control at countless suppliers of active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished products, especially those based in India and China.