No One Can Do it Alone: Addressing Global Access to Medicines

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Basketball legend Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” When looking around the world for examples of this model in action, the global partnerships that collaborate to improve access to medicine jump to mind. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 2 billion people around the globe do not have access to fundamental health care. Addressing access to medicines worldwide requires collaboration between stakeholders, a challenge that these three projects meet head on.

Since 2002, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) has partnered with governments to provide more than 5 million people in the developing world access to quality HIV and AIDS treatment, including treatment for half a million children. CHAI seeks to improve markets for medicines, while lowering the costs of treatments and expanding access to life-saving technologies. Today, in addition to its work in the field of HIV/AIDS, CHAI also endeavors to increase access to high-quality treatment for malaria and accelerate the rollout of new vaccines.

Lilly launched the Global Health Innovation Campaign out of a belief that we could make a difference by addressing barriers to health care access via research, action, and advocacy. As part of the campaign, Lilly leads the way in combating daunting global illness through two public-private partnerships, The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership and the Lilly NCD Partnership.

The private sector does not always have to spearhead these efforts, in fact, many governments have made global health a priority as well. The European Union (EU) has prioritized access to medicines by funding policies that support health in developing nations. By providing over $11 billion USD to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the EU helps provide medicines, counseling and strategic assistance to the countries that need it most.

There’s no simple answer for many of the vexing issues surrounding access to medicine. However, together we can make tremendous strides toward a healthier global population. The efforts of CHAI, the EU, and our Global Health Innovation Campaign prove Michael Jordan correct. When organizations work together and pool resources, everyone stands to become a champion for global health.