Medicine tablets Tayna/Flickr

Arrêter de taxer les malades

WASHINGTON, DC − Le débat sur l'accès à des médicaments abordables dans les pays émergents et en développement néglige souvent un problème crucial : les gouvernements de ces pays infligent systématiquement des droits de douane et d'autres taxes très lourdes sur des médicaments d'importance vitale. Bien que ces mesures aient tendance à générer des revenus modestes, elles augmentent les prix des médicaments concernés, ce qui peut les mettre hors de portée pour beaucoup de ceux qui en ont le plus besoin.

Comme les pays développés, les pays émergents et en développement importent certains sinon la totalité de leurs médicaments, dont les coûts sont principalement couverts par les patients eux-mêmes, étant donné le manque d'assurance maladie de ces pays. Par exemple, les Indiens paient de leur poche 70% de leurs dépenses de santé. Avec les droits de douane et d'autres taxes qui causent l'augmentation du prix des médicaments de près de 66% dans certaines régions, même les médicaments génériques les plus élémentaires deviennent inabordables pour les plus pauvres. Selon les conclusions d'un rapport de recherche sur le prix des médicaments à Delhi, ces prélèvements sont essentiellement une « taxe sur les malades » que le gouvernement pourrait facilement supprimer.

L'histoire est semblable sur de nombreux marchés naissants. D'après une étude de 2012 de l'Organisation Mondiale du Commerce, l'Argentine, le Brésil, l'Inde et la Russie imposent des droits de douane de l'ordre de 10% sur les médicaments importés, tandis que l'Algérie et le Rwanda maintiennent quant à eux un taux de 15%. Les droits de douane à Djibouti sont de 26%. Comme le mentionne ce rapport, il est difficile de comprendre pourquoi les petits pays maintiennent des droits de douane élevés sur les produits de santé : ce mouvement ne sert en effet qu'à faire grimper les prix du marché intérieur.

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