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The Challenges facing Member States in Access
The challenges facing Member States of the Pan America Health Organization, regional office of the World Health Organization in the region of the Americas, in improving access to essential public health supplies lie principally in important areas of selection of quality products, financing and procurement, cost containment and intellectual property regulation, and supply management.
The selection of essential public health supplies is often not based on rational criteria resulting in the selection and use of inappropriate commodities.
Sources of commodities are often selected based on price alone, and without appropriate consideration of product quality and quality assessment of manufacturers and suppliers. Price information is often not readily available to facilitate referencing in procurement, and there is insufficient information on pricing policies and methodologies being applied.
Too often essential drugs are inaccessible to the poor because of high price: differential pricing policies are not necessarily equity-based. Due consideration has not been afforded to the importance of supply management systems, forecasting, programming and planning in ensuring the continued availability of public health supplies.
The adoption of national health and medicines policies throughout the Americas is not resulting in the development of integrated supply systems at the national level. It is not uncommon to find isolated and disconnected procurement processes, parallel supply systems in operation, and duplication of functions with poor coordination between authorities at the district and national level. The supply of products is often ensured through isolated procurement systems designed and operated without consideration of the importance of managing and monitoring system processes as a whole: this ultimately leads to stock shortages, cost increases, and missed opportunities to utilize available funding.
Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization