On Wednesday evening Justice Edwin Cameron described the fact that some people cannot access the medicines they need as deserving of moral outrage. Justice Cameron was speaking at an event co-hosted by the Department of Health and the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicines.
A lack of access to essential medicines in both rich and poor countries has been one of the key themes of the global dialogues conducted in London and Johannesburg over the last week and a half by the High Level Panel.
Whether it is women in Wales who cannot get the breast cancer medicine they need, or people in South Africa not being able to access hepatitis B or tuberculosis medicines, we refuse to accept that any person on the planet has to go without the medicines they need.
The UN High-Level Panel offers a unique opportunity to reassess the way society ensures that new medicines are developed and made available to all people who need them. A variety of alternatives and/or changes to the current patent-based innovation system have been proposed. We consider many of these proposals to be feasible and implementable should they be backed up with sufficient political will and commitment.
In addition to making various written submissions to the High Level Panel, TAC and partners today delivered the Johannesburg Declaration to Ruth Dreifuss, who is co-chairing the High Level Panel (the Declaration can be downloaded here). The Johannesburg Declaration is a technical consensus document primarily aimed at members of the panel and the panel’s advisory group.
We urge the panel to be ambitious in its deliberations and its recommendations. We believe that alternative systems are possible that would provide both increased research and development and improved access to medicines (all submissions made to the HLP can be found here). We are however aware that both the pharmaceutical industry and the United States Trade Representative are deeply invested in the current system and will attempt to block alternatives
For more information contact Lotti Rutter
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