Fresh from a meeting with drug makers, advocacy groups, and government agencies, World Health Organization officials say they are gradually moving closer to a framework for so-called fair pricing for prescription medicines.
Although recommendations are not yet forthcoming, the latest meeting builds on efforts that began a year ago and, at the time, identified several key issues to be addressed. A report by an informal advisory group last fall named transparency in pricing and research and development costs; the right of governments to issue compulsory licenses; manipulation of orphan drug designations; medicine shortages; and the merits of value-based pricing.
“The role of prices and price setting has not really been fully addressed and the problem has become global,” said Dr. Suzanne Hill, director of essential medicines and health products at the WHO during a media briefing. “… You’re not going to see a change in systems over night. We do see a consensus developing about the need for access and change.”
When the industry argument first stresses the equivalent of ‘fraud and abuse,’ I’m not very hopeful. Then again, we have to start somewhere.
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