HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria Medicines Landscape: Progress Report on Emerging Issues and Potential Opportunities to Improve Access

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At the 30-31 March 2011 UNITAID retreat, the Secretariat presented a framework for strategic prioritization of UNITAID investments to maximize UNITAID’s public health and market impact. The Board approved the strategic framework, which included, among other things, landscape analyses to map current and future trends in disease burden, product development, and market evolution for preventatives, diagnostics, and medicines used in HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria.

The landscape analyses are one part of an exhaustive reform to lay the prioritization framework and develop evidence and intelligence needed for action. The purpose of this paper is to provide a progress report to the Board on the Secretariat’s work to develop medicines landscapes for HIV, TB, and malaria.

UNITAID projects have positively shaped many markets, with a focus on niches where extensive market shortcomings resulted in limited or no access to treatment in low-income countries prior to UNITAID. Without UNITAID’s support, many key markets would be substantially smaller and more fragmented, medicine prices would be higher, and fewer adapted products would exist. Many market niches are “healthier” than five years ago. However, some markets remain sluggish, despite substantial investment.

Markets are dynamic in nature. As markets evolve, efficiencies are gained, but new shortcomings also arise. This report describes the evolution of UNITAID’s market niches and describes some current market shortcomings and the reasons for these shortcomings. It provides preliminary views on additional opportunities for UNITAID to create new markets, catalyse markets for underutilized products, and address market inefficiencies towards increased access to medicines. In these times of financial crisis, the role of UNITAID in improving medicine affordability while at the same time promoting innovation is critical.