Which countries have the most ‘life-saving’ drugs?
Posted On August 4, 2021
With the Ebola crisis sweeping the globe, a new study has found that countries with high rates of death from infectious diseases have the highest number of drugs on the market.
In fact, the United States has more life-saving drugs than any other country, the Global Drug Report said.
The study, which analysed data from a database maintained by the World Health Organization, showed that the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates had the highest death rates from infectious disease, followed by Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
“The US has some of the highest rates of infections with HIV, and the highest rate of deaths from all forms of infectious disease,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a professor of health policy at the University of Oxford, told Medical News Day.
“The reason is that it has the highest numbers of drugs available, which is why it’s seen as one of the leading countries for preventing and treating HIV and other infections.”
While the United Nations estimates there are more than 5 million people living with HIV in the United Republic of Ireland, only 3,000 deaths were attributed to the virus last year, according to a report released last month.
However, this doesn’t mean the country is immune from the disease.
According to the WHO, in the same period of time, the death rate from tuberculosis was up to 1,200 per 100,000 people.
The report also found that a lack of public health spending on vaccines and treatments is a contributing factor in the high death rate.
“When you see a country spending less on public health than it spends on health care, it has an impact,” Dr Kolodcy said.
“In the UK, the problem is that we have a high death toll from HIV, so if we’re going to spend less on vaccines, why not spend more on public safety?”
The report highlighted some of these factors, including:Poor access to drugsThe United Kingdom has the world’s highest rate (26.2 per 100 million people) of people living in extreme poverty, and is one of only two countries where more people have died of malaria than from Ebola.
“We have the third highest death rate for tuberculosis, and one of two countries that has the most people dying from HIV,” Dr Kollie Gannon, who co-authored the report, told the Guardian.
“There’s an over-reliance on drugs, and that’s a big contributor to the high rates.”
In the United states, pharmaceutical companies have been granted patent rights for many of the drugs that can prevent HIV infection, but many of these drugs were first developed before the pandemic.
The United States is currently the world leader in the number of HIV-positive patients treated with these drugs, with around 100,00 people receiving treatment.
Despite the drug shortage, the report noted that some of those treated with HIV drugs have died, and this has been attributed to poor health.
“People are dying from the drugs and not being treated,” Dr Gannon said.
“They’re not getting the drugs because the drugs are out of stock, and there are huge price differences between the different brands.
There’s a huge price difference between the drugs in the UK and the US.”
Dr Kolodney said there was a lack in the treatment of HIV in Africa, with a lack, he said, of knowledge and education about the disease and its symptoms.
“If we want to help people avoid the disease, we need to understand the causes, the risks, and understand that we need access to these drugs,” he said.”[And] there’s a lack on the part of the WHO to really make this a priority.”
Dr Gannon told the BBC that she believes there was “a big opportunity” for the pharmaceutical industry in Africa to invest in better diagnostics and testing, as the country has not had an Ebola epidemic.
“In Africa, we have to see how we can make these diseases safer and more manageable,” she said.
Dr Kolodyns research was supported by the Wellcome Trust.