Unaffordable pharmaceutical prices in high-income countries: a butterfly effect across the world?  

Pricing, market access and equity: everything you always wanted to know at ISPH!


The forthcoming International Conference on Priority Setting in Health (ISPH) will feature absolutely brilliant sessions on many prominent themes that are priority areas of work for global health specialists.


Would you like to know what we think will be one of the highlights of this year’s conference? Leading-edge specialists talking you through the hottest pricing issues. Raising the bar with an absolute thrilling discussion crossing perspectives, experiences, and angles.


The premises of this plenary session on high-cost medicines?


Is there any role, or indeed responsibility, of high-income countries when setting the price of pharmaceuticals to look at the rippling downstream effect on affordability for low- and middle-income countries?


Pricing of new medicines is often high and unaffordable for patients and health-care systems, even in the wealthiest among high-income countries. For medicines with established efficacy and safety profiles, access barriers due to unaffordable prices have prevented the full benefit of these medicines from being realized.


In contrast, some newer medicines (e.g. for cancer, rare diseases) manage to command significantly higher prices than existing treatment options, despite only conferring marginal health benefits and posing higher risk of harms because of worse safety profiles. 


The use of these medicines contributes to inefficient use of limited resources, particularly in lower income countries. 


The crux of the matter when it comes to high-cost medicines is this: what does it mean for access to pharmaceutical products globally and in the future?  


New medicines are typically first introduced in high income countries with the greatest market potentials. Earlier availability in these countries often sets public expectations on access to these medicines in other lower income countries.


Furthermore, the pricing of these medicines not only sets a benchmark and shapes the pricing in lower income countries, but also pricing of other medicines in the future.   


As the growth in medicine prices often outstrips the rates at which country health systems can expand their health financing capacity, many established treatments in high income countries remain out of reach for many lower income countries many years after its first launch, potentially widening preexisting health disparities.  


That is the crux of the discussion: What is the role of higher income countries are in shaping global landscape of pharmaceutical pricing.


Our panelists are best-in-class experts in their fields:


Dr Rosa Giuliano, Director for Public Policy at ESMO; Prof. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, Law Professor and Founder of CHELD; Dr Christine Leopold, Senior Fellow and Consultant at Triangulate Health Ltd UK; and no less than Dr Kiu Tay Teo, pricing specialist at WHO and facilitator of the Fair Pricing Forum.

isph prep 

They will also discuss the roles of cross-country collaboration, and on specific questions, including whether there could be a common understanding of affordability across countries, and future policy discourse.   


Oh and just in case you wondered if this bold and gripping topic was enough to explain why we are so excited, please note that your Decide Hub Facilitator will moderate this session. It makes our day. Or even our year!


You can click on the names of the organizations above if you want to know more. You can also click here to register at the conference. Digital participation is free!


Looking forward to seeing at the conference!


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