The Fondation Chirac sounds the alarm about access to high quality medication
On April 7 2009, World Health Day, the Fondation Chirac urged political leaders to make access to high quality medication a world priority. This is not a technical question with such or such an agency maintaining the monopoly. It has become a political issue that concerns all the UN member States. Over 60% of counterfeit medication is sold in poor countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 200 000 lives could be saved each year if all the medication used were of high quality and correctly prescribed. Badly dosed and misused, these counterfeit drugs contribute to reinforcing complex pathogens.
When Jacques Chirac was still President of the French Republic, he rallied the international community against important pandemics such as AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. He initiated a number of projects to encourage global access to high quality medication at reasonable prices. With Kofi Annan, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, he ensured that the struggle against major epidemics was included in the Millennium Development Goals. During his presidential mandate, he supported the creation of the Global Fund for the fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. With his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, he launched UNITAID. This facility is financed through an innovative tool used for the first time by the United Nations: a tax on airline tickets aimed at providing less advanced countries access to medication. Within the United Nations, UNITAID is today still under the responsibility of a French General Secretary.
With the Fondation, Jacques Chirac furthers his commitment to access to medication for all. He is currently trying to encourage awareness amongst the planet’s leaders of the traffic in counterfeit drugs, a traffic that is dangerous to counter. A pilot project in Benin will allow the testing of efficient and low cost techniques in terms of drug quality control (Click here to know more about the National Laboratory of quality control of medicines). However, the project needs to be completed with a more global action. This is why the Fondation Chirac suggests a political rallying at the highest levels, perhaps through an international convention and a support fund, to prevent the traffic of counterfeit drugs.
Secretary of the Administrative Council