PQMD survey shows humanitarian agencies' overseas medical donations reach $812 million
Bernville, PA, USA, June 19, 2002 - Medical product donations distributed overseas by private humanitarian organization members of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) exceeded $812 million in 2002, 44% above 2001's $564 million, newly released data show. The new data bring PQMD members' donations since 1998 to $2.7 billion.
Donated medicines now constitute a significant share of all overseas medical aid from the United States. The PQMD members' $812 million approached the US Agency for International Development's FY 2003 budget of $1.02 billion for all global health programs other than HIV/AIDS. USAID for many years has encouraged and helped facilitate private-sector donations that complement the agency's health and development mission.
The donated medicines were used by PQMD nongovernmental organization (NGO) members to support 4,147 long-term development projects and 189 disaster relief efforts in 89 nations of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
PQMD is an alliance of humanitarian agencies and drug firms that in 1999 became the first donations-community signatory to the World Health Organization Guidelines on Drug Donations.
The range of donated products reflects the diverse needs in the wake of natural and man-made disasters -- earthquakes in Colombia, India, Turkey, El Salvador and Peru; war in the Balkans; floods in Mozambique and Central America. Although medical relief agencies are often first on the scene when emergencies occur, the PQMD data show that at least 80% of their work is devoted to long-term, sustainable projects to improve quality health care in developing nations and eliminate specific diseases as threats to public health.
For some donor manufacturers, disaster relief now accounts for as little as four percent of donations, while two-thirds of donations are devoted to disease-specific or health infrastructure development initiatives.
Anti-infectives and vaccines constitute the largest therapeutic classes of donations, representing about half of donations overall. Antibiotics represents as much as 90% of donations from manufacturers that have extensive antibiotic lines. Diagnostic materials and devices are also in great demand, accounting for 25% of donations to one NGO. Other important therapeutic categories included drugs for respiratory illnesses (12%), medicines for pain (6%) and drugs for diabetes (5%). Medical device donations ranged from single-use (or auto-disable) syringes for the UNICEF campaign to eliminate mother-infant tetanus to latex gloves for use in surgeries.
The PQMD data materially under-state the total value of medical product donations. They include only the alliance's 22 members out of some 150 medical relief agencies based in the U.S. and over 100 pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Moreover, the data do not include the cost of transportation and warehousing or the value of the medical care donated by the staffs of the NGOs.
The survey was conducted for PQMD by the Center for Pharmaceutical Health Services Research at Temple University.
PQMD humanitarian organizations are AmeriCares, the Catholic Medical Mission Board, Direct Relief International, Heart to Heart International, Interchurch Medical Assistance, International Aid, MAP International, Mercy Ships, Northwest Medical Teams, Project HOPE and US Fund for UNICEF. Donor company members are Abbott Laboratories, BD, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly & Co., Merck & Co., Pfizer Inc, Pharmacia and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Further information can be found at www.pqmd.org.
Direct Relief International is a member organization of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD)
MEDIA CONTACT: Juliana Minsky
GENERAL INFORMATION: Direct Relief International (805) 964-4767