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Published in: 10/03/2016

Health leaders agree on actions to improve access to high-cost medicines and protect the health of migrants

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High-cost medicines and health technologies

The new framework on Access and Rational Use of Strategic and High-cost Medicines and Other Health Technologies will help countries identify the best policies and strategies for increasing access to these products without excessive costs to their health budgets.

It calls on countries to work together and on multiple fronts, including the development of policies and legal frameworks to regulate the pharmaceutical sector and to promote transparency in pricing, as well as strengthening regulatory systems to ensure the quality of medicines, and increasing their utilization of joint procurement mechanisms including PAHO’s Strategic Fund and Revolving Fund, which obtain high-quality medicines, vaccines and other medical products at lower prices for member countries by consolidating demand.

Two key measures for ensuring the rational use of high-cost medicines are to prioritize the use of safe, effective and high-quality generics and to do rigorous cost-effectiveness evaluations of new medical products so that only those with added value for patient care are adopted into health systems.

Read more about high-cost medicines

Health of migrants

The resolution on the health of migrants calls on countries to develop health policies and programs to address health inequities affecting migrants and to strengthen health systems so they can meet the health needs of this vulnerable population. It also urges countries to move forward in giving migrants—regardless of their migratory status—access to the same levels of financial protection and comprehensive health services enjoyed by the rest of the population. 

The relationship between migration and health conditions varies from one migratory group to another as a function of differing vulnerability, ethnicity, gender, and place of origin or destination. Various factors expose migrants to greater risk of work-related injury, sexual abuse, violence, drug abuse, and psychological disorders, as well as infectious diseases such as sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and hepatitis. These risks are exacerbated by limited access to social services and health services in territories of origin, transit, destination, and return. 

There are some 61.4 million migrants in the Americas, more than 85% of whom live in the United States or Canada, while the others live in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Read more about migrant health here (in Spanish)