Improving access to affordable quality-assured inhaled medicines in low- and middle-income countries.
- Global Health
Access to affordable inhaled medicines for chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) is severely limited in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), causing avoidable morbidity and mortality. The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease convened a stakeholder meeting on this topic in February 2022. Focused group discussions were informed by literature and presentations summarising experiences of obtaining inhaled medicines in LMICs. The virtual meeting was moderated using a topic guide around barriers and solutions to improve access. The thematic framework approach was used for analysis. A total of 58 key stakeholders, including patients, healthcare practitioners, members of national and international organisations, industry and WHO representatives attended the meeting. There were 20 pre-meeting material submissions. The main barriers identified were 1) low awareness of CRDs; 2) limited data on CRD burden and treatments in LMICs; 3) ineffective procurement and distribution networks; and 4) poor communication of the needs of people with CRDs. Solutions discussed were 1) generation of data to inform policy and practice; 2) capacity building; 3) improved procurement mechanisms; 4) strengthened advocacy practices; and 5) a World Health Assembly Resolution. There are opportunities to achieve improved access to affordable, quality-assured inhaled medicines in LMICs through coordinated, multi-stakeholder, collaborative efforts.
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