This is Africa reports on how changing priorities for major generic drug producing countries, such as Brazil, India and China -- countries that "redefined affordable drugs, making access to medicines possible for millions in low-income regions" -- and greater adoption of intellectual property rules could reshape the African pharmaceutical landscape, potentially leading to price increases, according to some experts.
"Access to medicines has improved dramatically over the last decade, driven by the rise of cheap pharmaceuticals from Asia, domestic efforts by governments of developing countries, commitment from donors, and price cuts from brand producers," the news service writes, adding, "How African governments respond to this changing terrain will determine whether the progress of the last decade can be quickened." The news service examines different markets for brand-name and generic drugs and other medical technologies, but concludes, "Governments, not companies, emerge as the most important actors in ensuring wide access to medicines for their populations. Their policies, from intellectual property rules to public investments in higher education and roads, may prove more important than the whims of companies in Delhi, Geneva or Beijing" (Green, 11/15).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.