Pharmaceutical Public Health

The right to health implies that everybody, everywhere should have access to the needed essential health products, included but not limited to diagnostics, vaccines and medicines.

An emerging field in global health

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 3.8 aims to “achieve universal health coverage (UHC), which includes financial risk protection, access to quality essential healthcare services, and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”. However, billions of people in low-resource settings do not have access to affordable medicines, vaccines and other health products. Furthermore, many are exposed to the risk of receiving substandard or falsified products.

Pharmaceutical public health is an emerging field in global health, which aims at analysing and strengthening the pharmaceutical systems. It requires a multidisciplinary approach to navigate and integrate the different components of an effective pharmaceutical system. Not only research, but also education should integrate different disciplines and approaches. We do this with our short course Pharmaceutical Policies in Health Systems, launched in 2021.

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Fighting a global inequity

The reasons for the gap in access to quality-assured health products are multifactorial, ranging from an inadequate global governance of pharmaceutical innovation that prioritizes commercial interests over public health, to the weakness of many national pharmaceutical and regulatory systems. The strengthening of pharmaceutical systems should be based on the overarching assumptions that areas of interventions are interconnected to each other, and that essential health products are public goods, not commercial commodities.

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