Global pharmaceuticals There are enormous challenges in the field of pharmaceuticals. From fos‟ perspective the major issues are(8):
The need to develop new drugs, especially to combat great epidemics and neglected diseases, and to respond to the increasing resistance to antibiotics. The WHO established an Intergovernmental Working Group in 2006, which proposed a number of innovative ways to promote the development of new drugs for neglected diseases. At the World Health Assembly in 2010, countries including Brazil suggested that the mechanism should go beyond the traditional mechanisms of the free market;
The availability of cheap drugs (especially generic drugs) of good quality for low-income countries. There are generic drugs for most diseases. This is more problematic in the case of HIV and other epidemics, when more expensive patented drugs are needed. There is a political agreement (Doha 2001) to call upon the exceptions in the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) if a public health emergency occurs. In fact, the international civil society accuses the EU of wanting to be more restrictive in its bilateral trade negotiations;
The problem of counterfeit and substandard drugs. The WHO is making an effort in this field by “pre-qualifying” drugs for three diseases (HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis), which is a step in the right direction. However, there is no international mechanism to ensure the good quality of most generic drugs in the South. On the other hand, negotiations about a fight against counterfeit drugs (anti-counterfeit trade agreement, „Acta‟) have started. These negotiations are controversial, and are perceived by countries like India and Brazil and the international civil society as a means to protect intellectual property, against the TRIPS exceptions;
The distribution channels for drugs in lowincome countries remain a logistical and managerial challenge;
The rational prescription and use of drugs is the shared responsibility of care providers, patients and the government.
Evaluation of fos health programmes