UN welcomes drug companies’ pledge to expand access to essential medicines

UN welcomes drug companies’ pledge to expand access to essential medicines

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The United Nations today welcomed the commitment made by the an international pharmaceutical association and the makers of generic antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to work in close collaboration with UN agencies to increase access to low-cost, safe and effective medicines.

In a joint statement issued today by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the agencies said the generic pharmaceutical industry has a vital role to play in efforts to provide safe and effective medicines at low cost to improve health and save lives.

During meetings held this week by WHO and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the generic drug industry reiterated its commitment to work with the international community to achieve progressively lower prices and sustainable supply of key HIV medicines. The two agencies initiated the meetings to confirm the UN family’s full commitment to work with the international generic industry as well as brand name companies to scale up access to HIV/AIDS care.

Members of the International Generic Pharmaceutical Alliance (IGPA) agreed that participating in projects such as the UN interagency quality assessment of pharmaceutical suppliers and products would stand them in good stead for providing their services to international and local medicines procurement.

Future collaboration will include work on motivating increased competition to achieve lower prices, quality assurance and scaling up essential medicines provision for priority diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It was agreed that the target of three million people on ARV treatment by 2005 is achievable with the collective efforts of the world's pharmaceutical industries.