Access to medicine is a prerequisite for the practical realization of the basic human right to health enshrined in the UDHR and ICESCR. The world pledged a strong commitment to promoting healthy lives and social well being through the recently pledged Sustainable Development Goals especially goal 3, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.
Unfortunately lack of accessible and affordable medicines hamper the practical realization of this basic right not only in developing resource- constrained countries but also for a large segment of populations that cannot afford critical medicines in developed countries.
This situation came into focus especially after the emergence of health hazards like Ebola, Zika and AMR. In the Human Rights Council, we need to especially examine the human rights dimension of access to medicines.
In Pakistan, the Government addresses the issue of access to medicine, especially for the economically less endowed persons, through national procurement policies that ensure availability in public sector hospitals, and basic health units medicines. Appropriate regulations are also in place and being implemented for the provision of medicines, devices and diagnostics.
In line with SDG Goal 3, in Pakistan, we have introduced Prime Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme which would provide health coverage to 100 million people with the view to ensure provision of medicines as well as health facilities. The Government is also taking strict notice and have introduced laws and regulations to check the dissemination and spread of Superfluous medicines.
The UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel’s report on Access to Medicines has raised some important questions. It brings to focus the importance of the balance between human rights of individuals and incentives for pharmaceuticals to develop new and affordable medicines. It also refers to delinking R&D costs from prices of medicines. Would the panel like to elaborate on how this balance can be retained and what incentives can be strong enough for pharmaceuticals to enable them to survive in an already competitive environment while underscoring the human rights of individuals to have access to medicine at affordable rates?
I thank you.