Public health policy often excludes access to essential medicines. Drawing on an in-depth case study examining access to essential medicines in the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa, and more briefly, making reference to the U.S. diabetes epidemic, we highlight the relationship between the need for essential medicines in world populations, and the role of groups external to government in promoting access to essential medicines in public health policy. We consider how, in the context of health stratification, the activities of patient advocacy groups, and “third way” social policies of the pharmaceutical industry generate “social capital,” creating enhanced access to essential medicines for a few, and promoting the ideal of the right to access for all. The implications for the development of public health policy inclusive of essential medicines are discussed.
Campbell, M. and Ballantyne, P. (2004), "WHO ADVOCATES FOR PATIENTS WHEN HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS FAIL? ENSURING ACCESS TO ESSENTIAL MEDICINES IN SOUTH AFRICA (AND THE U.S.)", Jacobs Kronenfeld, J. (Ed.) Chronic Care, Health Care Systems and Services Integration (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 239-260. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0275-4959(04)22012-9Download as .RIS
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