Pharmaceutical Considerations for Expanded Coverage of Essential Health Services and Financial Protection Programs
The UN adoption of the SDGs in 2015 signaled a strong commitment of member countries to the expanded access to essential health service agenda and definitively recognized the critical role of medicines in achieving UHC. The SDGs call for countries to “achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”.
This paper seeks to highlight the key functional areas of pharmaceutical management, the critical components of the pharmaceutical system, and the management considerations needed to facilitate the attainment of UHC targets. It is organized into three sections that reflect its purpose. Section I aims to describe the critical role that pharmaceutical management and pharmaceutical systems strengthening play in realizing the objectives of all three UHC dimensions. Section II illustrates through selected cases some of the challenges low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) face in pharmaceutical management and how they have successfully addressed those challenges. Finally, Section III provides a practical guide for decision makers by explaining how to ensure that pharmaceutical systems are strengthened in a way that will enable countries to meet UHC objectives.