Paying for Medicines under Universal Health Coverage

small calendar icon

Publication year:


small globe icon


small file information icon


pdf (566.1 KiB)

small number of pages icon


Save the Children UK

Universal health coverage (UHC) is defined as all people in a country being able to use the quality health services they need without being forced into poverty. It is grounded in the human right to health. Paying direct cash when consulting a health professional or receiving a service is increasingly accepted as unfair because it deters the poor from accessing services and endangers vulnerable communities financially. The impact of paying cash when medicines are needed, however, has had less consideration.

With this paper, Save the Children argues that essential medicines and health commodities should be free at the point of use under the principles of UHC within well-regulated public health systems. This means that countries must shift the burden of medicines costs from the individual to the collective by raising more money for health services and medicines, financing this through progressive mandatory prepayments such as tax, pooling the collected resources and effectively allocating them through strategic purchasing. Allocations should be based on public health needs and human rights obligations, focusing on the most vulnerable and marginalised populations.

Document information

SubscribeSubscribe and receive reading selections

LibrarySave all your favorite materials for future use

UploadUpload research & contribute to the collection

By browsing the Resource Centre you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Read our cookie policy.