Access to NCD medicines: emergent issues during the COVID-19 pandemic and key structural factors

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in the treatment and care of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). This report examines the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to NCD medicines, and the policies and strategies implemented by countries and health systems to anticipate and mitigate stresses across NCD medicine supply chains. The full range of upstream and downstream impacts are investigated, including: manufacturing; procurement, importation and last mile delivery; patient-level effects through affordability and availability; and the effects on NCD medicine availability by category of disease. The report culminates in recommended actions and interventions for key stakeholders in the NCD pharmaceutical supply chain, including governments, regulatory authorities, manufacturers and the private sector; as well as directions for future research for improving access and supply chain access resilience.