The World Health Organization has promised that the process of pricing of medicines would be made as transparent as possible so that lifesaving medicines are easily accessible.
Drug makers are under increasing criticism as prices for new range of drugs for serious illnesses like cancer and hepatitis C have hit the market at prices which are very high, making them unaffordable for many patients and national health services alike.
"The problem has become global," said Suzanne Hill, head of essential medicines at the World Health Organisation (WHO). "Many of these (drugs) are now on the WHO model list of essential medicines but their high price is limiting access."
Hill was quoted in Amsterdam at a one day forum on fair drug pricing sponsored by U.N. health agency and the Dutch government.
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The meeting was a first step on chalking out concrete plans on drug pricing attended by governments, industry and civilians.
WHO assistant director general Marie- Paul Kieny said that though there was consensus on the point that the industry needed returns on their research and development, there was a demand that governments should play a stronger role in marking prices and directing drug research.
The prevalent lack of transparency on cost of development of drugs, setting of prices and the different prices for the same drug in different countries are all seen as blockages in the system.