WHO selects fake meds among top 10 health challenges of 2020s

Expanding access to medicines, and fighting falsified and substandard drugs, is one of the World Health Organization’s top 10 urgent health challenges for the next 10 years.

The WHO says one-third of the world’s population lacks essential health products such as medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, threatening health, lives, and fuelling drug resistance. The World Health Assembly, which is the decision-making body for the WHO, has been working for some years on a member state “mechanism” to tackle the issue of substandard or falsified medicines.

Along with its focus on falsified and substandard meds, the agency says it wants to help enhance the capacity of low-income countries to assure the quality of medical products throughout the supply chain and improve access to diagnosis and treatment for noncommunicable diseases.

The full list of challenges – in no particular order – can be viewed here, and covers:

  • Elevating health in the climate debate
  • Delivering health in conflict and crisis
  • Making health care fairer
  • Expanding access to medicines
  • Stopping infectious diseases
  • Preparing for epidemics
  • Protecting people from dangerous products
  • Investing in the people who defend our health
  • Keeping adolescents safe
  • Earning public trust

“This list, developed with input from our experts around the world, reflects a deep concern that leaders are failing to invest enough resources in core health priorities and systems,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“None of these issues are simple to address, but they are within reach. Public health is ultimately a political choice.”

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