In December last year The Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul proposed the creation of a Blue Ribbon Committee on Tiered Pricing in Middle Income Countries (MICs). The initiative, which has been tried and tested many times over, claims to increase access to medicine by setting discount prices for drugs weighted against the purchasing power of a country. However, with 75% of the world’s poor living in MICs, the initiave has shown that these cheaper prices are simply not cheap enough for the most marginalised.
The proposal has therefore come under heavy criticism from civil society for not looking at longer-term solutions that would more radically bring down drug prices- such as supporting generic competition, the utilisation of TRIPS flexibilities and IP reform. It has also been criticised for being a way for Big Pharma to maximise profits since the drug price is determined according to the highest cost a country is capable of paying. The initiave has also failed to engage civil society groups, and more importantly the governments of the middle income countries it is supposed to be focused on. Following this criticism the draft terms of reference for the committee have been revised but there is still considerable concern at the proposal and its potential impact on the global effort to improve access to medicines.
In light of these concerns the Student Stop AIDS Campaign have joined over 200 other organisations in calling for the initiative to be dropped and for the Global Fund to back a country-led and comprehensive effort to tackle the growing problem of poor levels of access in middle income and low income countries.
Check out our video on the issue.
For more please see the following links:
Open letter from civil society to Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Abadon the “Blue-Ribbon Task Force to develop a global framework on tiered-pricing”
Analysis of initial concept note from Thiru Balasubramaniam (Knowledge Ecology International) February 2014 – Resurrecting the Ghost of Høsbjør Past: Global Fund seeks to establish global framework on tiered pricing enforced by WTO rules
Professor Brook K. Baker’s (Policy Analyst Health GAP) analysis of the third draft from March 2014 – Industry-Led Tiered-Pricing or Country-Led, Real Equitable Access – the Global Fund’s Task Force Proposal Get Worse Instead of Better
Blog from Suerie Moon (Harvard School of Public Health) Is the Global Fund Heading Backwards on Access to Medicines?