September 16, 2019
 In 2022-Expanding Access to Medical Resources

Country: Spain
Delegate Name: Nikhil Talla

World Health Organization
Expanding Access to Medical Resources
The Kingdom of Spain
Nikhil Talla
Forest Hills Eastern

The World Health Organization (WHO) strives for everyone to have quality, essential healthcare services and access to safe, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines. Substandard and falsified medical products can cause harm to patients and fail to treat diseases. They decrease confidence in pharmaceuticals, healthcare providers, and health systems. The distribution of substandard and falsified medical products has increased antimicrobial resistance and drug-resistant infections. According to the WHO, 1 in 10 medical products in low-income and middle-income countries is either falsified or substandard. In addition, 400 million people do not have access to essential health services. The public healthcare system in Spain covers a range of healthcare systems, including general medicine, family practice, pediatrics, nursing, physical therapy, and more.

According to Helvetia insurance, The Kingdom of Spain spends around 10% of its annual GDP on healthcare (approximately 2,000€ per resident annually). About 90% of all Spanish citizens use the public healthcare system. Spanish citizens and residents can access private and public healthcare. About 20% of citizens use private healthcare because budget cuts have led to less access to their preferred professionals and long wait times for treatments and appointments. The contamination of substandard medications in Spain is limited; however, there have been cases of contamination of products in Spain. Spain believes that, in a pandemic, pharmaceutical companies should be flexible in granting voluntary licenses. Allowing medical product manufacturing to be free from restrictions by patents provides equality. A working paper developed by Spain presented to the European Union states, “Unequal access to vaccines between developed and developing countries is not only at the core of a feeling of injustice, but also poses a health risk for the world.” Spain also proposed a platform to monitor global vaccine manufacturing sites and match idle production capacity with demand. The paper also suggests that airlines work with international organizations to contribute more to vaccine distribution.

Spain encourages the WHO to suggest countries advance education on tactics to spot counterfeit and substandard medicines. For example, counterfeit medicine often contains spelling mistakes in the packaging. Prescribers should consider having prescribed substandard medical products: if a patient fails to respond to treatment, if several patients who have received the same batch of a particular drug fail to respond to treatment, or if an unusual adverse drug reaction occurs. For medicines administered by parents and not medical experts, odd appearances or smells should raise suspicion that the medication may be contaminated. In the face of a pandemic, manufacturing restrictions on the production of medical products should be lifted, providing equal and increased access to these health resources. Spain is open to solutions addressing the growing abundance of falsified and substandard medical products, and Spain is willing to work with other countries to find these solutions.