HC Deb 06 March 2002 vol 381 c331W
21. Phil Hope

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what policies her Department is pursuing to increase access to medicines in developing countries. [37335]

Clare Short

We are committed to working with our developing country partners and other international organisations to address the four key factors which are recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as effecting access to medicines. These are sustainable financing, affordable pricing, reliable health and supply systems and the rational selection and use of existing drugs.

On sustainable financing, we are supporting, with a commitment of $200 million from DFID's budget over five years, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, which will help pay for increased coverage of proven interventions for three diseases and some associated health systems strengthening.

The Working Group on Access to medicines, which I chair is working to bring about more affordable pricing. The UK is also supporting work undertaken by the WHO, World Trade Organisation and the European Commission on drug pricing.

We have committed over £1 billion since 1997 to strengthening developing countries' health systems, building their capacity both to deliver medicines to the poor and to make effective choices about the selection and use of drugs.