The Access to Essential Medicines Campaign
December 1, 2002 6:27 AM   Subscribe

The Access to Essential Medicines Campaign is an initiative by Medecins Sans Frontieres that seeks to "lower the prices of existing medicines in developing countries, to bring abandoned drugs back into production, to stimulate research and development for neglected diseases that primarily affect the poor, and to overcome other barriers to access." HIV is one target disease. The Campaign's press releases, press clips and reports on HIV give a good picture of recent developments. In light of this evidence, does anyone care to step up and defend "big pharma" and the governments of the wealthy North? Have we/they "done enough"? What would "doing enough" look like, given the scope of the crisis?
posted by stonerose (5 comments total)
Have we/they "done enough"?

One way of helping to solve this problem is for individuals to offer their own money to buy drugs for those who need them. Maybe one individual cannot make much of a difference, but a group of individuals can.

Anyone interested in starting a website/charity that pools money from many individuals to buy drugs for needy countries? If the group gets large enough we could probably even get bulk discounts from pharmaceutical companies.

In this way, we can help those who need the drugs while still rewarding those who spend their time and money developing these life saving drugs. Anyone interested? (Or know of already existing programs like this?)
posted by jsonic at 9:13 AM on December 1, 2002

Organizations like MSF already do this, turning individual donations into large sums of money, and using those sums - and their advocacy efforts - to get pharma to drop its prices. But it's important to find other producers, too, and loosen the legal shackles on generic producers - otherwise our donations go to support corporations who spend truly sickening amounts on marketing, schmoozing doctors, etc.
posted by stonerose at 9:34 AM on December 1, 2002

But it's important to find other producers

Good point. An idea I have in this area is to start a private, not for profit, drug company initially using donated funds. This company would do research and development much like public (for profit) drug companies, but not have the overriding goal of increasing shareholder value. This non-profit avenue would hopefully allieviate the company of having to try to constantly increase its profit margin. Instead, the financial goals of this company would be to sustain itself and make enough money for further development.

This could hopefully result in much lower drug prices that truly cover the cost of development and not the marketing and other excesses that you spoke of earlier.
posted by jsonic at 10:14 AM on December 1, 2002

See The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative.
posted by stonerose at 10:28 AM on December 1, 2002

Thanks for link.

It seems that this model of drug development would work well (and possibly self-sustaining) for all drug development, not just neglected diseases.

Yea! I actually learned something from metafilter today.
posted by jsonic at 10:38 AM on December 1, 2002

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