UK Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander announced the launch of a powerful new health alliance which could save the lives of 10.5 million people in developing countries each year by 2015.
International institutions, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, governments, civil society and business have joined together to form the Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) to improve the health and lives of millions of people.
Currently one in three people around the world still don’t have access to the basic medicines they need to fight illness and ten million children die each year for want of cheap and effective drugs.
Up to a third of medicines on the market in developing countries are fakes and a recent study published by the American Enterprise Institute found that a third of malaria drugs sold in six African cities either did not contain high enough levels of active ingredient, or did not dissolve properly.
Douglas Alexander said: “Too many people die needlessly because they can’t get the medicines they need. There are currently 2 billion people around the world who do not have access to affordable medical services. A lot of medicines are not affordable, they are of poor quality, or they are simply not available.
“The problems of price, quality and availability can be tackled by improving transparency and access to information. MeTA will provide citizens, health care workers and others with information to challenge corruption, excessive pricing and waste. We now have a common approach and by working together millions of lives could be saved.”
MeTA will be piloted in Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, The Philippines, Jordan, The Kyrgyz Republic and Peru over a two year period. Following the pilot phase the MeTA model will be revised based on lessons learned to enable other countries to join MeTA and increase access to medicines for poor and vulnerable people.