Medicines We Can Trust Campaign Rallies Mekong Governments and Leaders to Improve Access to Quality Medicines

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Nov. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and other leaders from the Greater Mekong Subregion joined hands as part of a global campaign to improve access to quality medicines. The announcement was made during the Phnom Penh Regional Conference on the fight against falsified, substandard and unlicensed medical products. 

The Medicines We Can Trust campaign is a global movement advocating for access to quality medicines and stronger health regulatory systems.

"The world wastes approximately US$30 billion each year on poor-quality medicines," said Dr. Phillip Nguyen, Director, International Regulatory Policy & Programs, USP, a committed partner of the campaign. "Substandard and falsified medicines give patients false hope, erodes trust in health systems and fail to protect people from the devastating impact of diseases. Despite the scale of this issue, it is rarely prioritized -- or even discussed outside of expert circles. The Medicines We Can Trust initiative is a multi-stakeholder effort focused on raising awareness on the impact of poor-quality medicines on peoples' lives."

At least one in 10 medicines are copied illegally with substandard manufacturing practices in low- and middle-income countries, including many countries in Asia Pacific. In Southeast Asia alone, an estimated 30% of antimalarial drugs are of poor-quality contributing to an alarming rise in antimalarial resistance across the region. Anti malarials is just one of a broader range of drugs that are becoming in-effective; antimicrobial resistance already accounts for 700,000 deaths every year, could cause up to 10 million deaths per year, and cost US$100 trillion by 2050.

"In the Greater Mekong Subregion, cross-border collaboration between countries will be critical to stop the ongoing distribution of poor-quality medicines through trade channels. Cambodia's leadership in convening a regional and multisectoral meeting to address the issue is a great start," said Ruby Shang, Chair of the Asia Pacific Leaders' Malaria Alliance (APLMA) Board. 

"Momentum is building. Apart from the Cambodia conference, positive leadership on this issue is evident through existing platforms like Medicine Quality & Global Health conference, and Regional Regulatory Partnership (RRP). This global campaign will further strengthen this leadership as it engages the regional community, including policymakers, civil society, regulators, health professionals, and researchers to act against substandard and falsified medicines." added Dr. Sivong Sengaloundeth, Deputy Director General, Food and Drug Department, Ministry of Health, Lao PDR.

"Ensuring that all people can access quality medicines to effectively fight infectious diseases is crucial. Unitaid is proud to support the campaign against poor-quality medicines to tackle the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance," said Dr. Philippe Duneton, Unitaid's Deputy Executive Director. "These superbugs are threatening the global health community's gains against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria and jeopardizing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals." Unitaid invests half of its portfolio -- US$ 500 million -- in innovative grants to combat drug resistance and is a committed partner of the campaign.

Visit Medicines We Can Trust to get involved and learn more. #MedsWeCanTrust

About the Medicines We Can Trust

Medicines We Can Trust  is a global campaign that seeks to create a sense of urgency around poor-quality medicines, inspire collective action and unify a diverse and broad coalition of partners to advocate for the right to safe and quality medicines.

About the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA)

APLMA is an affiliation of Asia and Pacific heads of government, formed to accelerate progress against malaria and to eliminate it in the region by 2030.

About USP

USP is an independent scientific organization that collaborates with the world's top experts in health and science to develop quality standards for medicines, dietary supplements, and food ingredients.

About Unitaid

Unitaid brings new medical discoveries to the people who needs them the most and helps large-scale introduction of new health products. Through collaboration with governments and partners, Unitaid invests in innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and malaria more quickly, affordably and effectively.