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Markets Matter: experts share why strong markets are essential for global health

April 27, 2016 by PATH

Health products can only save lives or improve health if they reach the people who want and need them.
Two men talk to a woman who is standing behind a counter in a pharmacy.

Too often, markets fall short, and lifesaving, health‐improving products do not reach the people and communities who need them in low‐ and middle‐income countries. Photo: PATH/Ngo Thi Than Thuy.

Even the most effective health products cannot save lives or improve health if they do not reach the people who want and need them.

That is why markets—the systems, structures and institutions that facilitate the buying and selling of health products—matter.

When markets function well and are healthy, then well‐designed, quality-assured, and affordable health products are consistently available.

Welcome to Markets Matter, a collection of thought leadership pieces from a diverse group of nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and donors.

Through the below roundup we hope to elevate the role well-functioning markets play in supporting access to health products. We invite you to read these expert blogs and follow #MarketsMatter to join in a lively online conversation with us.

Healthy markets: essential to improving health and saving lives

By Ray Cummings, director of Market Dynamics at PATH

Woman standing in front of shelves with medicine in front of them in a chemist shop.

Healthy markets are critical for improving global health. Why? Because too often, lifesaving health products do not reach those who need them most. Ray Cummings explains why markets matter. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

Markets matter: successes in global health market dynamics

By Susan Nazzaro, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Two women sit on a bed while one holds a a newborn child swaddled in a blanket.

As mortality and morbidity around the world continue to decline, a greater number of people now have access to the products and technologies they need to live healthy, productive lives. A key to achieving this is ensuring healthy markets for health produc

Making vaccine markets work: 15 years of lessons learned

By Melissa Malhame, head of Market Shaping at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

A man pulls vaccine from a vial with a syringe.

Melissa Malhame looks back over 15 years of work with partners to make lifesaving pentavalent vaccines more affordable and accessible for lower-income countries. Photo: Gavi/Mike Pflanz.

Leveraging markets for global health

By Wendy Taylor, director, and Amy Lin, senior market access advisor, lead market shaping at USAID’s Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact (CII)

A malaria control team heads out to a rural village in Kenya to provide indoor residual spray services.

Wendy Taylor and Amy Lin discuss how the USAID Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact’s work in preventing malaria and treating HIV demonstrates the impact of market shaping on accelerating access to lifesaving innovations and achieving global heal

Implementing total market approaches for family planning in Uganda

By Joyce Tamale, managing director of the Uganda Health Marketing Group

A close-up of birth control pills and a Sayana Press device held in the hands of a man and a woman who are looking at them.

To support increased access to family planning for all Ugandans, Joyce Tamale explains how her organization, the Uganda Health Marketing Group, is working to advocate for and implement a total market approach for family planning in Uganda. Photo: PATH/Wil

Keeping all options open: how the private sector helped Senegal address its market challenges for family planning and bring back choice to women

By Dr. Priya Agrawal, executive director at Merck for Mothers

A woman reaches up to a shelf and organizes boxes of supplies.

The women of Senegal can now rely on shelves stocked with an array of contraceptive methods to choose from. What changed? Dr. Priya Agrawal explains how leveraging private-sector expertise and fostering public-private partnerships can improve markets and

In Africa, markets matter for a healthy society

By Craig Williams, general manager for West Africa, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

A health worker and a woman sitting on a bed review a note on a pad of paper.

Craig Williams of GlaxoSmithKline reflects on how business can contribute to strengthening health systems in Africa. Photo: GSK.

Incentives and innovative financing mechanisms matter in addressing market failures

By Erin Will Morton, director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition

Two surgical gloved hands hold a vial.

Erin Will Morton highlights the critical need for market incentives and innovative financing mechanisms to accelerate the research and development of lifesaving vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and other health tools for those who need them most. Photo: PATH

New tool helps bridge manufacturers to potential markets

By John Skibiak, director of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition

A photo of a laptop with the words "Find the right markets for your reproductive health products" and the website of

The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition’s new RHTargetMarket Tool is designed to improve market visibility and reduce risk for contraceptive suppliers serving or interested in serving developing-country markets. John Skibiak explains how the tool suppo

Quality matters: cheap uterotonics—bargain or burden?

By Fiona Theunissen, project officer at Access to Maternal Health and Dr. Hans Vemer, CEO of the Concept Foundation

A woman and toddler look lovingly at a newborn.

Dr. Hans Vemer, a former obstetrician and now CEO of the Concept Foundation, and Fiona Theunissen explain why quality matters. A single dose of a drug that works is cheaper than several doses of poor-quality drugs that don’t. Photo: Photoshare/Salma Siddi

Access to innovation: In reach for all?

By Dr. David Kaslow, vice president of product development at PATH and leader of the PATH Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access

A MenAfriVac immunization campaign in Burkina Faso.

Dr. David Kaslow of PATH explains that innovative solutions to global health problems have the potential to materially change innumerable human lives only if the people who need them most can access them.  Photo: World Health Organization/CC BY.