Impact of the European Union on access to medicines in low- and middle-income countries: A scoping review

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Series Details Volume 9
Publication Date October 2021
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This Scoping Review synthesises evidence of the impacts of European Union (EU) law, regulation, and policy on access to medicines in in non-EU low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and the mechanisms and nature of those impacts. We searched eight scholarly databases and grey literature published between 1995-2021 in four languages.

The EU exerts global influence on pharmaceuticals in LMICs in three ways: explicit agreements between EU-LMICs (ex. accession, trade, and economic agreements); LMICs' reliance on EU internal regulation, standards, or methods (ex. market authorisation); ‘soft’ forms of EU influence (ex. research funding, capacity building). This study illustrates that EU policy makers adopt measures with the potential to influence medicines in LMICs despite limited evidence of their positive and/or negative impact(s). The EU's fragmented internal and external actions in fields related to pharmaceuticals reveal the need for principles for global equitable access to medicines to guide EU policy.

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