Access to medications for chronic disease management is limited in many low and middle-income countries (LMICs), resulting in suboptimal care and avoidable morbidity and mortality. We performed a survey of COPD and asthma medicines that appeared on the national essential medicines lists (NEMLs) of 32 LMICs. Nearly all countries (>90%) had assigned essential medicines for treatment of exacerbations and early stable disease stages, but not for steps 4 (22%) and 5 (6%) controlled asthma management. The number of treatment options was limited, with long-acting β2-agonists (LABA) and combination dosage forms being notably absent. Suboptimal availability of chronic respiratory disease medicines suggests that implementation of NEMLs is the main problem in clinical practice.
- Asthma in primary care
- COPD epidemiology