Pharmaceutical Essential Medicines
The Growth of Private-Public Partnerships
Health inequalities among the world's wealthiest and poorest countries
reflect the types and levels of diseases prevalent in different
countries. Diseases such as river blindness, leprosy, and trachoma
are endemic in poverty-stricken areas of the world but are virtually
unknown in economically developed nations. While other diseases
such as AIDS do not distinguish between rich and poor nations, the
economies of countries determine who receives treatment and who
is left to suffer illness, disability and death.
Health disparities result, in part, from lack of access to essential
medicines. Cures that are affordable in developed economies are
financially out of reach for those living in impoverished regions.
Pharmaceutical companies are under increasing pressure from consumer
and citizens to redress this disparity and act quickly to reduce
the death and suffering caused by the lack of access to drugs. Pharmaceutical
companies have responded to this crisis with various programs designed
to alleviate the health problems in developing countries.
The formation of Private - Public Partnerships is a relatively
new approach to addressing the problem of access to essential medicines.
Private-Public Partnerships can be ventures between one or more
for-profit companies and public entities, including not-for-profit
organizations such as UNICEF, Ministries of Health of foreign countries,
foreign aid organizations such as USAID and DFID and non-governmental
organizations such as Helen Keller Worldwide and CARE. These partnerships
are formed to bring together the resources, skills, and expertise
of the various sectors to improve access to essential medicines.
Buoyed by support from the World Health Organization, the World
Bank as well as other factors, Private-Public Partnerships are a
relatively new approach to exceedingly complex global health issues.
For a comprehensive list and in-depth information about public-private
partnerships for health, visit the web site of the Initiative
on Public-Private Partnerships for Health.
This section provides an overview of some of the Private-Public
Partnerships in which the following pharmaceutical companies are
The information provided in this section is not designed to be
exhaustive but to highlight some of the important work being done
to improve access to essential medicines by private-public partnerships
with pharmaceutical companies as the "private" partner..
At SHARED, we believe that pharmaceutical companies are in a unique
position to demonstrate leadership in improving access to essential
medicines. As responsible corporate citizens, each pharmaceutical
company should and must take steps to give back to communities whether
at the local, national or international level. By examining the
essential medicine donation programs in operation today, we can
compare and contrast the efforts undertaken by some of the world's
largest, richest, most powerful and influential for-profit corporations
and decide for ourselves if we believe the values demonstrated by
each company's actions mirror our own.
We invite you to read about what is being done by some of the US
pharmaceutical companies and to encourage these companies to expand
their support of global health issues. Please visit the "Take
Action" section for specific suggestions on what you can do
to improve global health.