However the question of equal access to medicine was asked on Monday at the third anniversary lecture on “Health and Global Trade Regime: Is It Affecting Equal Access to Medicines?” organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), chaired by Professor Rehman Sobhan.
Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, vice chair of UN Committee for Development Policy, gave the keynote speech.
“We have three challenges; inadequate innovation, lack of access to medicine and escalation of prices of branded medicine.
“There are major innovation gaps that is left by a system that is incentivised by private profitability which is a powerful system and is important and needs to be maintained, but alongside that you need to have a system for responding to public priorities that do not interest private investors,” Professor Sakiko said.
“There are also access gaps, prices of life saving medicines are out of reach and spiralling prices of medicines putting pressures on households and public budgets in rich countries,” she added.
Professor Rehman Sobhan cited the eradication of cholera in the world as a public service, the formula for which was invented by two American scientists in Bangladesh: “The global objective then should be to draw on these experiences to rethink the way research and development to treating is health as universal right.”
According to the Drug Administration of Bangladesh, the country is fulfilling 90% of its local demands of medicine although the accessibility was not measured.
Khushi Kabir, one of the trustees of the CPD, said accessibility and accountability among pharmaceuticals is needed to ensure access to medicine for all.