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Providing Global Access to Medicines - The Role of Manufacture and Supply

A universally held objective is patient 'access' to health care interventions in general and medicines in particular - both patent-protected and generic. This represents a particular problem for patients in developing countries, many of whom (for a variety of reasons) do not currently have access. The barriers are multi-factorial: physical and health care infrastructures are often inadequate; financial resources are limited; military, social and political issues abound and country economic policies can have negative effects on health care provision. It is clear that these problems cannot be solved by initiatives in manufacture and supply (M&S), but at the same time some attention has been focused on whether local production, generic competition and technology transfer might make a significant contribution.

Unfortunately, much of the policy discussion within this area has been undertaken without an understanding or appreciation of modern pharmaceutical M&S. This article describes some of the key considerations, and highlights the access-related policy implications. There are five principal considerations, which largely apply equally to branded products and generics:


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By David Webber, Fellow and Director of Economic Policy at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA) Dr David Webber is a Fellow and Director of Economic Policy at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA) in Geneva. David gained a degree in Biology and a PhD in Animal Physiology from London University, and then undertook postdoctoral research, which led to published papers on stomach function.
He joined Glaxo Pharmaceuticals in 1982, and was responsible for various marketing functions in the UK Operating Company, before assuming a role in the corporate strategy unit. In 1999, David was appointed Public Policy Director in the Corporate Policy and Public Affairs group. In 2000, David was seconded to IFPMA, where he is responsible for policy development in key areas for the industry.

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David Webber
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