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WHO Fair Pricing Forum: Watching for Drug Industry Accountability | Health and Human Rights Journal

Expensive medicines are a ubiquitous challenge from which no government is immune. Excessive price hikes are an urgent human rights issue with serious ramifications for public health. One such example is that of Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), a breakthrough medicine that can be taken once a day to lower the risk of HIV infection (called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP). In the United States, Truvada costs between US $1,600-$2,000 every month and the average monthly wage is $3,498 for women and $4,345 for men. A recent 4.9% price increase will make this treatment even less affordable.

This is only one of many such examples, sometimes involving far greater price increases. Global leadership is needed urgently to catalyse long-term solutions that prompt governments to take regulatory action, hold the pharmaceutical industry to account for its human rights responsibilities, and to fulfil everyone’s right to the highest attainable standard of health.

That’s why all eyes will be on the second WHO Fair Pricing Forum, taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 11-13 April 2019. Stakeholders, including senior policy-makers, representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, NGOs, and patient organisations, will gather to discuss options for a fairer pricing system that is sustainable for health systems, patients, and research-based and generic pharmaceutical industries. Participants at this high-level meeting will discuss their experiences of using regulatory and non-regulatory tools to achieve ‘fair’ prices. The hope is that common understandings on affordable and sustainable prices for medicines will be reached. But the question remains: Will the second WHO Fair Pricing Forum achieve a commitment to promote (regulatory) actions that dissuade pharmaceutical industry from excessively high medicine prices?

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WHO Fair Pricing Forum: Watching for Drug Industry Accountability – Health and Human Rights Journal.

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