Major obstacles include high drug costs and lack of Research & Development (R&D)

From the start we have faced two major challenges: the high cost of medicines currently available and the absence of appropriate treatments for many of the diseases that affect patients in the areas where we work. On the one hand, we challenge the high costs of existing drugs – such as those to treat HIV/AIDS – and work to bring prices down. On the other hand, we focus on stimulating research into new medicines for neglected diseases such as tuberculosis, sleeping sickness, kala azar and chagas disease.

It turns out that both access and innovation are intertwined. While there have been remarkable advances on both fronts, formidable tasks remain ahead, both to address existing challenges and to meet new ones. That’s why MSF is pursuing its campaign as vigorously as ever.

High prices caused by company monopolies: many medicines are too expensive for patients or governments in developing countries to afford – newer treatments used for HIV are an illustration of this.

Research and development agenda does not target medical needs: another problem is that research and development is not geared towards the needs of people in poor countries.

Working to develop newer simpler models of care: even when better medicines and tests become available, there are other barriers to be overcome. For example, one key problem delaying the further roll-out of HIV treatment is the chronic shortage of health staff, particularly in Southern Africa.

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