As UN member states gather in New York for the 74th UN general assembly this week there will be a renewed focus on sustainable development goals (SDGs). Particular attention will be paid to the goals regarding universal health coverage, and to preventable noncommunicable disease mortality.

A global alliance of think-tanks is calling on member states to remove government-erected barriers that hamper access to medicines. The think-tank statement, “Accelerating Access to Medicines: Policy Recommendations for Achieving the Health-related SDGs”, contains several low-cost steps governments could take immediately, including cutting red tape, slashing taxes on medicines and increasing access to a properly functioning healthcare insurance market...

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