Health situation and trend assessment

MDG 8: essential medicines

Proportion of population with access to affordable essential drugs on a sustainable basis

Target: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

Millions of people die prematurely or suffer unnecessarily each year from diseases or conditions for which effective medicines or vaccines exist. Essential drugs save lives and improve health, but their potential can only be realized if they are accessible, rationally used, and are of good quality.

Essential drugs are those that meet the health-care needs of the majority of the population. These are in WHO's Model List of Essential Medicines. Access is defined as having drugs continuously available and affordable at public or private health facilities or drug outlets that are within an hour's walk from the home of the patient.

Situation in SEAR

As shown in the graph below, of the three SEA Region countries for which estimates are available, more than 75% people buy drugs from private drug outlets in India. It is the other way round in Thailand where 75% people get drugs at public health facilities. In Indonesia people get drugs almost equally from public and private outlets. It is also noted that consumer price ratio of drugs at private outlets in Thailand is higher than it is in India and Indonesia and three times as high as it is in Sri Lanka.. Estimates are not available from other SEA Region countries. Myanmar, however, has reported that its population coverage by essential drugs on a sustainable basis has increased from 17.5% in 1990 to 74% in 2005, the latest year for which data is available.

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