Target 8e of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals acknowledges the need to improve the availability of affordable, essential medicines for the world’s poor. The target is currently measured by the indicator, "Proportion of population with access to affordable, essential drugs on a sustainable basis."
Access is defined as having medicines continuously available and affordable at public or private health facilities or medicine outlets that are within one hour’s walk from the homes of the population.
WHO/HAI acknowledges that in about 40 developing countries, one-third of the population has access to public sector essential medicine availability, while two-thirds have private sector availability.
Access to essential medicines can be improved through stronger partnership among governments, pharmaceutical companies, and civil society — including consumers, working together to ensure universal access to essential medicines.