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Market Failure, State Failure: The Political Economy of Supply Chain Strengthening to Ensure Equitable Access to Vaccines and Medicines in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Authors
  • Fox, Ashley1
  • 1 University at Albany, State University of New York.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of health politics, policy and law
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2024
Volume
49
Issue
1
Pages
43–72
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1215/03616878-10910242
PMID: 37522368
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Much of the existing work on the political economy of vaccine access has focused on how intellectual property rights agreements contribute to inequitable COVID-19 vaccine access between high-income and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The two solutions that emerged to scale up access in LMICs involved either voluntary arrangements under COVAX or a waiver of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) to allow immediate access to intellectual property. However, an additional constraint on access is weak and ineffective supply chains within LMICs that have eroded over several decades of health-sector reform. This article reviews the literature on the political economy of supply chain strengthening in LMICs and identifies key challenges to equitable access to emergent vaccines and other medicines emanating from market and state failures in internal supply chains. Over the past century, supply chain policies in LMICs have alternated among an emphasis on addressing market failures contributing to unaffordability of vaccines/medicines, an emphasis on state failures contributing to unavailability of vaccines/medicines, and a more recent move toward public-private hybrid arrangements to strengthen supply chains. In addition to reshoring production capacity through a TRIPs waiver, the international community must address chronic weakness in internal supply chains in LMICs to ensure access to novel vaccines/medicines. Copyright © 2024 by Duke University Press.

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