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Many low-and lower-middle-income countries currently get a large portion of their health products—drugs, devices, diagnostics, and vector control tools— through centralized, donor-managed procurement mechanisms, and often at subsidized prices or as donations. Moreover, global health procurement needs are evolving rapidly as countries transition from donor aid, global disease burdens shift, and the organization of health systems transition from vertical disease programs to universal health coverage.
In many LMICs, the market of pharmaceutical wholesalers and distributors is extremely fragmented, with too many intermediaries and small, inefficient firms. China and Tanzania provide two examples of reforms.
In recent years, many global health institutions have adopted eligibility and transition frameworks for the countries they support, generating questions about how these frameworks apply in practice—and whether global health progress will be put at risk through premature or poorly planned transition processes.
This paper focuses on the role that price transparency may play in the efficient and effective procurement of medicines by middle- and low-income countries. Will making prices publicly available make procurement more efficient and cost-effective medicines more accessible? We conclude that transparency of the procurement process significantly lowers costs by encouraging bidders.
Today, politicians are under growing pressure to squeeze more out of every dollar and guarantee greater access to better, more affordable healthcare for their citizens. In such a resource-constrained environment, wasting trillions of dollars on health every year is not viable. This note provides an overview of some of the approaches and policy options that the National Health Service in England has been using to maximise value for money.