Access to drugs for non-communicable diseases should learn from HIV fight
Access to drugs for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represents the latest treatment-access crisis, and will require a transformation in global health much like the fight for access to patented HIV/AIDS medicines in developing countries did a decade ago.
Thomas Bollyky from the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, says in this week's PLOS Medicine, that bitter disputes over access to patented HIV/AIDS medicines in developing countries transformed global health, "elevating infectious diseases as a foreign policy concern and helping to mobilize billions of dollars to research and distribute new therapies to meet the needs of the world's poor."
Now, he argues, a new fight over treatment access looms in areas like India, China, and other middle-income countries, which have "taken measures to circumvent patents on medicines for diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular and chronic respiratory illnesses - the noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) increasing most rapidly in low- and middle-income countries."
Addressing this latest treatment-access crisis will require another transformation in global health, this time focusing on NCDs, low-cost interventions, and patient-centered strategies, says the author.