21 Feb Better access to generic medicines
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization
Mr Pascal Lamy, Dr Francis Gurry, distinguished experts, ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to host this meeting at WHO and extend my warmest welcome to all of you.
By again focusing these technical discussions on access to medicines, we are standing on a common ground in the mandates and expertise of our three agencies that empowers us to address one of the most pressing issues in public health today.
Public health needs innovation, and it needs access to good quality medical products. These are long-standing needs. But recent trends have forced governments everywhere to look at the efficiency and fairness of their health services. This includes a close look at pharmaceutical expenditures, and this close look inevitably turns to questions of affordability, including access to generic medical products.
The financial crisis hit the world like a sudden jolt. Money is tight, and public health, within individual countries and internationally, is feeling the pinch. In this new era of economic austerity, global health initiatives and agencies, like the Global Fund, the GAVI Alliance, and WHO itself, now face serious financial shortfalls.