Statement |

140th WHO EB - Intervention - Agenda Item 8.3 Addressing the global shortages of medicines and vaccines

Speaker: Rachael Hore

Shortages and stock outs of medicines, vaccines and diagnostics continue to be a challenge that MSF encounters each day in our work.  Shortages and stock outs have an unacceptable impact on patients, as their consequences can lead to poor health outcomes.

MSF welcomes the resolution passed during last year’s World Health Assembly on addressing the global shortage of medicines and vaccines. However, we feel very little progress has been made. On defining stock outs and shortages, only preliminary consultations have been held, and draft definitions – which are still too complex – have been provided in the EB report.

There has been little or no progress from WHO in assessing the magnitude and nature of the issues, initiating a global notification system for supporting Member States to start working on this resolution– due to an apparent lack of funding. MSF has seen little progress from Member States in the countries where we work, to better detect shortages and stock outs, including implementation of early warning systems, to improve the reliability of supply chains and to have measures in place to respond effectively.

The resolution for WHA 70 must be broadened to include:

  • Vaccines within the request for a global shortage notification system
  • A response strategy for shortages and stock outs in the request for global shortage notification system
  • Diagnostics, which are a critical tool for medical care and must be considered within the scope of shortages and stock outs; and
  • More focus on in-country supply chain issues, which MSF sees as the main problem,

Member States also have a responsibility to fund this vital work at WHO; without it, as many low-middle-income countries transition out of donor funding, and as companies look towards more lucrative markets, the issue of shortages and stock outs will not be resolved soon.