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[Comment] Universal access to medicines

Medicines account for 20–60% of health spending in low-income and middle-income countries, whereas in high-income countries the proportion is 18% or lower.1 Up to 90% of low-income populations purchase medicines through out-of-pocket payments, making medicines the largest household expenditure item after food.1 Strategies to make medicines more available and affordable are therefore crucial in increasing their use in low-income and middle-income countries, in which the burden of non-communicable diseases, in addition to awareness of the benefits of prevention and treatment, are increasing.