Accessing Medicines in Africa and South Asia (AMASA) is a 3-year research project funded under the European Union's Framework Programme 7. It is led by the University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with partners in Belgium, Switzerland, Uganda, South Africa and India. The research investigates how the interplay of patent regimes, pharmaceutical regulation, availability of drug production facilities, health care infrastructure, service provision, and engagement by foreign donors influence appropriate, affordable access to medicines. The project examines the production, distribution, supply and consumption of medicines within seven health care areas – HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Reproductive Health, Tuberculosis (TB) Control, Mental Health, Pain Management and Diabetes.
AMASA was stimulated by earlier research on three pharmaceuticals in India and Nepal, funded by the UK's ESRC/DFID poverty alleviation research programme under the title 'Tracing Pharmaceuticals in South Asia' (TPSA). This took a whole-system perspective grounded in public health and population approaches to health care and drug delivery.
This required an understanding of the clinical evidence base for each drug, and how this evidence plays out in practice when the national and international regulations governing production, cost and access are considered. One of the main findings of this research was the need for further investigation of the complex interplay between the regulations which govern pharmaceutical production and delivery and the formal and informal networks of health care in the study countries. To that end, the AMASA project will conduct research in three countries: Uganda, South Africa, and India.
Findings from the research will guide health policy decisions concerned with accessibility, affordability, acceptability, and the appropriate use of essential medicines in these study countries, with implications that benefit other developing countries and the work of international agencies. Project activities will involve national and international stakeholders throughout the course of the research, in order to ensure that the findings have maximum impact on policy and practice.