Cost of Medicines

It is unacceptable that millions die worldwide from preventable causes. DFID is promoting measures to improve access to good quality medicines.
 
Research and development of new vaccines and medicines is a big part of this. By investing in public-private Product Development Partnerships (PDPs), the UK is stimulating research in areas lacking a market incentive to do so, and promoting market competition to lower costs. DFID has committed £220 million to support PDPs between 2017 and 2021. The £1 billion Ross Fund Portfolio is also supporting the development of new products for diseases that pose public health risks.
 
The pharmaceutical industry has a vital role to play in supporting access to high quality, affordable medicines. DFID funds the Access to Medicines Index, which ranks the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and provides an incentive for companies to adopt best practices. DFID also supports pharmaceutical companies charging lower prices in poorer countries for patented medicines and supports efforts to simplify the licensing system for patents to produce new generic medicines.
 
The UK's work through global partnerships also helps bring down costs through economies of scale, and better forecasting of demand.  Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has helped reduce the prices of many vaccines: the current total cost to Gavi of immunising a child with pentavalent, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines is US$20; a reduction of more than 43 per cent since 2010.
 
Cost is just one factor that affects access to medicines. Supporting developing countries to improve their health systems, infrastructure and supply chains, helps reduce the physical barriers to availability. The UK has supported over 30 countries to strengthen their health financing strategies and reforms. Helping to make government spending on medicines more efficient, and speeding up the registration of new, often cheaper, medicines by improving the regulatory system, also increase access.