Improving access to affordable quality-assured inhaled medicines in low- and middle-income countries.
BACKGROUND: 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.METHODS: 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.RESULTS: 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.CONCLUSION: There are opportunities to achieve improved access to affordable, quality-assured inhaled medicines in LMICs through coordinated, multi-stakeholder, collaborative efforts.
Funder: Medical Research Council
World Health Organization (001)