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PRICE UNIFICATION APPROACH: A BRIDLEPATH TO ADDRESS THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES (NCDs)

The profound influence of wrecked health systems entwined with disoriented-overwhelming misguided and inappropriately sequenced health-priorities in global-south especially in Africa, continue their soundless existence as health nightmares to world’s populace. NCDs are chronic non-transferable diseases between people, Include; Diabetes, Cancers, Cardiovascular-diseases, chronic kidney-diseases, Chronic-respiratory-diseases, Hypertension and mental-illnesses. Our health systems are highly stratified due to the wave of neoliberalism and health budget-cutbacks thus weakening governments’ capacities to cope-up with growing health crisis and increasing burden of disease.

Several NCDs drug-brands are exorbitantly priced and patented. Through 2001_Doha-Declaration, WTO Members adopted a special Ministerial-Declaration to clarify ambiguities between need for governments to apply the principles of public health and terms of Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Countries in Africa are applying this through granting Compulsory licenses, and use of Parallel-importation of patented generic products marketed in other countries which has enhanced access to affordable medicines while acknowledging the role of intellectual-property protection for the development of new medicines by use of safeguard provisions in Article-6&31 of TRIPS-Agreement.

However, patented medicines’ affordability challenge in Global-South is still eminent, therefore, patients versus patents must be the forerunner to action on NCDs by strengthening price unification through region integrations, as an approach this paper seek to abridge to stimulate NCDs treatment obtainability. Price-sameness through integrations make generic-price-paradox negotiations more influential than individual-states because of the multi-country collaborative efforts and well-streamlined standard regulatory settings in the health systems henceforth favorable weighted price-indices attached on medicines.

In-conclusion, price-uniformity is attainable through a supportive political-will that embraces integrations with intermediary transparent-administrative and-governance structures in health boards that undertakes responsibility of licensing, identifying and sequencing medicine-priorities and negotiating for fair patents on essential drugs as benchmark for NCDs health-care accessibility.

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