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Global Health Partners Begin Building a New Approach to Ensure Equitable Access to Medicines

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26 February 2015 - Global health partners met in Geneva to begin the process of building a new approach to better determine health needs and constraints and addressing them in countries.

The new framework, the Equitable Access Initiative, aims to better inform international decision making processes on health and development, particularly where they rely on traditional gross-national-income classification as a measure of where to invest global health resources.

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Solutions Identified to enable affordable medicines for hepatitis C, UNITAID new report highlights

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UNITAID signs grant with MSF to spur action

Geneva. 12 February 2015 - UNITAID’s newly published analysis on the rapidly changing medicines market for hepatitis C [PDF, 2 MB] indicates four routes by which recently developed but currently prohibitively expensive medicines can be made affordable and available for widespread use.  There are up to 150 million infected worldwide with this curable disease, and up to 700,000 deaths each year from related liver disease.  The new medicines could be game-changers for the fight against the disease if made widely available.  UNITAID has already started working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to demonstrate the feasibility of treating hepatitis C with these new medicines in resource limited settings, including through reducing prices.

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UNITAID publishes comprehensive review of detection and monitoring technologies for hepatitis C

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Diagnosis and screening currently too complex and expensive, but new options emerging

Geneva – January 2014.   UNITAID’s review of testing technologies for hepatitis C (HCV) published today, finds that although current diagnosis and screening options for the disease remain too complex and expensive for widespread scale up, there are some emerging technologies which could change this situation.  The new report, Hepatitis C Diagnostics Technology Landscape [PDF, 4 MB], follows an initial scoping report released in 2013 that explored the many issues and challenges related to HCV treatment and diagnosis. The new landscape report identifies several simpler tests which will enable diagnosis and monitoring closer to the point-of-care with the patient.  Some of these are expected to reach the market later this year. 

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New Vector Control Products Urgently Needed to Combat Insecticide Resistance, UNITAID Report Warns

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Geneva – 5 December 2014.  With a growing intensity and increasing geographical spread of insecticide resistance, UNITAID’s Malaria Vector Control Landscape [PDF, 1.4 MB] highlights the need to stimulate product innovation for new solutions to tackle issue of malaria-carrying mosquitos.  It suggests that this could be achieved through increased financing  for R&D for vector control products, given that the vector control market is not seen as an attractive commercial target by industry.  The report also indicates that further measures to accelerate acceptance and uptake of new products in the market may also be needed, particularly as new products are likely to be more expensive than existing intervention tools.

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UNITAID Finds Affordability, Availability and Demand Slow Access to HIV Prevention Products

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Geneva – 28 November 2014. UNITAID has published its 2014 HIV Preventives Technology and Market Landscape [PDF, 2.1 MB] which shows that although there has been a significant increase in products with promise to curb HIV transmission, scaling up access to them has been slow due to a variety of issues including affordability, availability and demand – all market based.  The report highlights opportunities to change this through efforts to reduce various market obstacles such as the lack of product approval completion.

Although the number of new HIV infections fell by 38% from 2001 to 2013, the number of new infections remains high, with over 2 million people newly infected in 2013 alone.  With AIDS as the sixth leading cause of death globally and the number one cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa, preventing new cases of HIV infection needs to remain a major global health priority.  Preventative tools can substantially contribute if made widely available.

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UNITAID’s EXPAND-TB and TBXpert MTB-RIF Projects Detect Over A Quarter of all MDR-TB Cases

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Makes Significant Contribution to WHO’s estimate of 30% Increase In Case Detection

Geneva, 22nd October 2014 – UNITAID welcomes new data in the World Health Organization’s new global report on tuberculosis (TB) which shows a 30% increase in case detection of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in 2013, much of which is attributed to the roll out of the UNITAID-funded EXPAND-TB and TBXpert projects.

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Support Builds For Japan’s Adoption of the Air Ticket Levy at the Terashima Commission

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Tokyo, 12 October 2014 - Discussions on Japan’s possible adoption of the innovative air ticket levy continued today in Tokyo at a symposium to commemorate the launch of the Second Terashima Commission.  The Commission, a multi-sectoral coalition advocating for Japan to agree to the Solidarity Levy, includes parliamentarians, academics, civil society groups, trade unions, private sector and international organizations. Delegates were urged to help convince Japanese authorities that the country should come on board and implement the air ticket cooperation charge, as a first step to a wider but more complex contribution such as through the Financial Transaction Tax.  The campaign has already received widespread support under the leadership of the Parliamentary group chaired by Mr Seishiro Eto and been actively promoted by Mr Michihiro Ishibashi with the crucial support of Mr Tetsuji Tanaka from the International Solidarity Levy group (ISL).

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UNITAID Tuberculosis Medicines Technology and Market Landscape (Second Edition)

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Geneva – 09 October 2014 UNITAID has released the second edition of its TB Medicines Technology and Market Landscape, detailing current shortcomings in the tuberculosis (TB) medicines market and opportunities to improve access to lifesaving TB treatment.

Although largely curable, TB remains a serious threat to global public health and a leading cause of death, particularly among people co-infected with HIV and women of reproductive age. TB is also one of the top 10 causes of death in children.

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Tuberculosis diagnostics technology and market landscape – 3rd edition

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Geneva – 26 September 2014. UNITAID releases today its 2014 Tuberculosis Diagnostics Technology and Market Landscape, detailing the promising pipeline of products and technologies to diagnose tuberculosis (TB). The report highlights current and emerging technologies from over 80 manufacturers and developers, including products which are smaller, simpler and easier to use in decentralized settings than the current tools used by the majority of high-burden TB countries.

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Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development

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24th September 2014 - Chair of the UNITAID Executive Board and United Nations Secretary General's Special Advisor on Innovative Financing for Development, Philippe Douste-Blazy, gave an opening address at the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development in New York.  The event's theme was "Innovative financing: a solution to diversify the financial toolbox for sustainable development and the climate".

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