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Publication - published on 16 Jul 2020

Tunnel vision or global outlook? Global Pharma's preoccupation with the US.

COVID-19 is a litmus test of whether health systems can pool assets and expertise and fairly distribute resources so that patients worldwide can benefit equally, writes Jayasree K. Iyer, Executive Director of the Access to Medicine Foundation. 

COVID-19 is exposing three pre-existing fault-lines in this system: a heavy dependency on donors to sustain access mechanisms; countries’ dependency on a few large pharmaceutical companies for supply, due to the lack of local availability of manufacturing capacity of essential medicines; and the preoccupation that some pharmaceutical companies have with high profit margins and with the US market in particular, which limits their ability to play a strong role in curbing this pandemic globally. 

Conversely, other companies that have made strides in recent years in terms of building local supply chain and manufacturing capacity, and that are building up steady businesses and networks in low- and middle-income countries. At the same time, they have achieved a balance with their businesses in lucrative markets. These are the companies that are now showing their capacity as truly global players, and proving to be resilient in the face of this pandemic. 

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