Fighting the Scourge of Fake Medicines: Global Fund Replenishment is Moment of Truth

18 Sep 2022
Health Policy Watch

The upcoming Global Fund Replenishment drive, 19-21 September, will be critical to holding onto and advancing progress against infectious diseases in multiple ways – among them ensuring the flow of quality-assured medicines to low-income countries and fighting falsified and substandard medicines that can comprise up to 70% of drugs on the market in some parts of Africa.

At Rwanda’s Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) held in June on the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, world leaders and representatives from the private sector, civil society organisations, philanthropists and trusts recommitted to combat the scourge of malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

Those commitments were made despite the unprecedented challenges facing the world from the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the climate crisis.

Commitments are encouraging and important, but to deliver real progress in the fight against NTDs they must be backed by funding.

One of the biggest single-donor organisations in public health is the Global Fund to fight AIDs, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, a partnership that has invested more than $55 billion to date to help defeat these three diseases and others in more than 100 countries through commodity procurement.

It has helped to strengthen health systems and provided support for specific programmes, helping save an estimated 44 million lives, mostly vulnerable people. This month, the Global Fund meets for its 7th funding replenishment from donor governments, and the outcome will have a decisive impact on global public health in the coming years.

Global Fund’s role fighting fake medicines is less well known

While the Global Fund’s work is familiar to many, perhaps less well known is its critical role in protecting patients from fake medicines. Only quality-assured medicines may be procured with Global Fund financing – those cleared by stringent regulatory authorities, the World Health Organisation’s Prequalification Programme, or Global Fund’s Expert Review Panel. 

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