PATH Statement on the United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines Report

September 15, 2016 by PATH

September 15, 2016 – PATH welcomes the United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines (High-Level Panel) Report urging swift action to increase global access to health technologies.

PATH applauds the United Nations and members of the High-Level Panel for bringing attention to this important issue. Getting new and improved tools into the hands of everyone who needs them is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, PATH agrees with the High-Level Panel's recommendations to increase investments from all countries in research and development for health, and new incentives to bring in the necessary stakeholders to develop health technologies for low-resource settings.

At the same time, PATH calls for further review and discussion of some of the report's recommendations with an eye toward broader access issues and ensuring that future access to innovative lifesaving technologies is not inadvertently put at risk. The High-Level Panel should engage in dialogue with, and accept inputs from the global health innovation community, including nonprofit product developers.

PATH's decades-long experience in developing a range of health technologies, including vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and devices shows that the failure of innovations to achieve widespread use in low-resource settings is rarely due to a single issue. Access to health innovation is best ensured when products are quality-assured, integrated into well-functioning health systems geared to support health impact and equity goals, and consistently available, affordable, and acceptable. This means supply is reliable and sufficient to meet demand, the price balances what end users can afford with incentives for suppliers, and products are designed to meet the needs of the end user and the health system.

"There is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution to all access challenges. Access is a complex issue," said Dr. David Kaslow, vice president of Product Development and head of the Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access at PATH. "In our experience, the barriers to access are best overcome if approached holistically, through multisectoral partnerships, and with a long-term, sustainable approach."

Read more about PATH's perspective on access based on nearly 40 years of developing health technologies for low-resource settings.

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