Europe should lead in coordinated procurement of quality-assured medicines for programmes in low-income and middle-income countries
Thoughtful procurement policies in humanitarian and development medical programmes can mitigate the risk of purchasing poor-quality medicines, allowing to address fundamental moral obligation to equity, transparency and accountability. European donors are aware of the quality problems in the global pharmaceutical market, and some are already translating awareness into explicit procurement and quality assurance policies. However, a joint position and coordinated action is lacking. European donors should share existing knowledge and tools, seek the input of recipient countries, and develop a joint position on how the donor community can help to ensure access to affordable and quality-assured health products—also during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Applying stringent and harmonised quality assurance requirements, European donors and their implementing organisations can help shaping the global pharmaceutical market towards affordable, quality assured products.