Essay: Access to Drugs for Treatment of Noncommunicable Diseases

PLoS Medicine
(Accessed 27 July 2013)

Access to Drugs for Treatment of Noncommunicable Diseases
Thomas J. Bollyky

Summary Points
:: A decade ago, the HIV/AIDS treatment-access crisis helped elevate infectious diseases as a foreign policy issue and mobilized billions in global health aid.
:: A new controversy over patented medicines and their affordability in developing countries is emerging, this time over noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
:: Conflicts over patented NCD medications are likely to increase, with potential adverse consequences for patients, drug firms, and developed and developing country governments alike.
:: The intergovernmental institutions designated to address trade and global health concerns are unlikely to resolve these conflicts and alternatives to intellectual property have not attracted significant donor and multilateral support.
:: Addressing the NCD treatment-access crisis will require another transformation in global health, this time focusing on low-cost interventions and patient-centered, rather than country-focused, strategies.