ACCESSIBILITY AND AFFORDABILITY OF DRUGS

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The government is taking measures that require very careful consideration of causes and consequence. The abuse of licence to import medicinal products has resulted in the death of 70 children requiring measures to provide remedies for the losses and prevent recurrence.

Government is acting on recommendation that is yet to explicitly indicate how to ensure that quality essential medicinal products are available, accessible and affordable at all times. People may die because of lack of quality medicinal products as has happened to the 70 children. People may also die because of lack of available, accessible and affordable essential medicinal products.

There is need for a national stakeholders’ conference by importers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, pharmacists and medical practitioners to examine the gaps in the supply chain for quality medicinal products in the country. A report given to government by a task force should be further subjected to a validation exercise by all the stakeholders connected to the supply chain for medicinal products. This is absolutely urgent to prevent cosmetic measures being taken that will not directly have impact on ensuring the accessibility, availability and affordability of medicinal products. It is important that those stakeholders of the supply chain of medicinal products are protected and not ostracised. Their needs should be understood, how to keep them in supply chain should be assessed and how they should be empowered to ensure the availability of medicinal products should be inquired into to ensure that there will be no more deaths due to contaminated medicinal products or the absence of quality products that are affordable. We hope the government will display the maturity necessary to save Gambian lives by strengthening stakeholders who can keep the supply chain for quality and affordable medicinal products fully operational.