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August 18, 1999

Access to Essential Drugs in Poor Countries

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(7):630-631. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-7-jbk0818

To the Editor: I commend Dr Pécoul and colleagues1 for addressing the question of whether access to essential drugs in poor countries is "a lost battle." The authors urged for multipartner collaboration of WHO with other agencies such as the World Bank to improve access to essential drugs in poor countries. The fact is that not only life-saving drugs but also the battle to provide other contributors to health such as safe drinking water, nutrition, immunization, education, employment, and primary health care for millions of people around the world is far from won.2 The issue of availability (or lack) of essential drugs thus needs to be addressed in the broader perspective of the socioeconomic-political situation, which tremendously influences health issues.

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