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“Securing access to medicines: now is the time to act, not to find a way.”

  • Date : 2019-05-22
  • Hit : 1162

“Securing access to medicines: now is the time to act, not to find a way.”

□ Park Neung-hoo, Minister of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea, attended the 72nd World Health Assembly(WHA) and related events held in Geneva, Switzerland from May 19 to May 20.

□ The 72nd WHA was held under the theme of 'Universal health coverage(UHC): Leaving no one behind'.

* Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means ensuring that everyone has access to necessary, quality services in the areas of health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care without financial difficulties. UHC is part of the UN’s SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

□ Minister Park attended the side-event(Forum) on May 20, which was titled, "Access to medicines, vaccines and health products: A multi-dimensional approach for ensuring transparency of markets, affordable and quality products to achieve UHC."

* The event was organized by 16 countries including Korea, Italy, the Netherlands, Mongolia, and Vietnam.

○ Ms. Mariangela Simao, WHO Assistant Director-General, served as a moderator. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, and ministers from 10 countries, including Mr. Bruno Bruins, Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports joined the forum.

○ Prof. Kwon Soon-man, Seoul National University, introduced the case of Korea related to accessibility of medicines and various global response measures. The discussion was followed by the speeches of ministers and experts from participating countries. They sought concrete and viable ways to secure access to medicines.

□ In his keynote speech at the WHA, Minister Park urged WHO Member States to take practical action to achieve UHC.

○ Minister Park expressed his appreciation for the interest and support of many countries in access to medicines following his keynote speech for the 71st WHA last year. He shared the major outcomes of the side event held on the afternoon of May 20 and called for Member States’ active interest and participation.

○ Minister Park said that the First Comprehensive Plan on National Health Insurance (May 2019) will facilitate systematic and coherent implementation of UHC policies in Korea. He also added that Korea will share its best practices with other Member States and spare no support to promote UHC globally.

○ Furthermore, Minister Neunghoo Park was convinced that multi-dimensional discussions on UHC promotion worldwide will benefit all stakeholders, including patients, healthcare professionals and the government, if the ideas are shaped and put into practice. He closed his speech by urging Member States to quickly move into action.

□ Besides, Minister Park attended the meeting on access to medicines hosted by the Netherlands (May 19), the AMR (antimicrobial resistance) ministerial meeting held by Sweden and the UK(May 20), and the ministerial meeting on universal health coverage organized by the World Economic Forum (May 20). He expressed the Korean government's interest in respective topics and stressed the importance of sharing best policy practices and experiences among countries.

□ Meanwhile, bilateral talks with the United States and Saudi Arabia were held on the sidelines of the WHA.

○ Park met with Mr. Alex M. Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services of the US and discussed how to effectively implement the global health security initiative and deal with vaccination and antibiotic resistance.

* (GHSA, Global Health Security Agenda) The council was created by the U.S.(2014) to respond to health and security threats such as emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, and bioterrorism. Korea held the second GHSA ministerial meeting in 2015(Seoul), and chaired the Steering Group in 2017.

○ Minister Park spoke with Mr. Tawfig Fawzan AlRabiah, Minister of Health of Saudi Arabia, on the excellence of Korean medicines and medical devices. He also asked the Saudi government to make an advanced conclusion on simplifying approval procedures for Korean-made pharmaceutical products and medical devices in Saudi Arabia.

□ “During the WHA, we had a good opportunity to identify the keen interest of Member States in access to medicines and to explore how to address the issue,” said Minister Park.

○ He also said, "To improve the health of global citizens and advance the health care sector, the Republic of Korea will faithfully carry out its expected role in the international community."

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