I’d like to introduce you to the student-run campaign “MedAccess”. MedAccess is the Edinburgh branch of the large international student movement “Universities Allied for Essential Medicines”, abbreviated as UAEM.
MedAccess (UAEM-Edinburgh) exists because of 2 reasons: see slide There are lots of reasons why there is a lack of access to essential medicines but an important one is that pharmaceutical companies often hold patents on a medicine and can therefore charge very high prices – a price that the vast majority of the population in developing countries can’t afford. Reason for lack of research: Diseases that mainly affect poorer countries do not represent a profitable market for commercial research.
Our goal in basic terms is therefore to get low-cost medicines to those in developing countries.
Universities should do this by having provisions in their licenses to pharmaceutical companies which say that the pharma company has to offer that medicine at the lowest possible cost in middle- and low-income countries.
Neglected diseases being diseases that mainly affect the poor and therefore attract very little funding.
Measure research success according to impact on human welfare rather than by the amount of money that a certain medicine makes (which is how research success is measured at the moment). If you are short on time, would suggest to skip this slide.
To add to bullet point 1: Therefore the main aim should not be to make maximum profit but to act in the interest of tax payers. To add to bullet point 4: A recent report found that 15 of the 21 drugs with the highest global therapeutic impact were derived from university research.
UAEM is BIG internationally 1. This success in 2001 was the start of the UAEM campaign. D4T (Stavudine) an important HIV/AIDS drug was invented at Yale but the patent was held by a pharma company ( Bristol-Myers Squibb ). At the time this drug was extremely expensive and thus inaccessible for many in immediate need of it. Students along with MSF (doctors without borders) campaigned to Yale to allow generic manufacture. Bristol-Myers Squibb finally agreed to allow generic manufacture in poor countries bringing down the price of D4T by 95%. (I would skip this story if you are short on time because it’s pretty long) 3. This is a statement outlining our three core beliefs. It has been signed by many prominent people, e.g. Jeffrey Sachs, Paul Farmer, five Nobel Laureates, top intellectual property professors, and the former deans of the schools of public health at Yale and Harvard – as well as thousands of other students and professors at over a hundred campuses around the world.
We successfully passed a motion on access to medicines at the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) AGM. We have now managed to pass the motion through the Edinburgh University court which means it’s university law.
Why do we exist? <ul><li>Lack of access to medicines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>According to the WHO, 10 million people die every year because they do not have access to medicines that already exist </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of research into diseases that mainly affect the poor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only 10% of the Research & Development dollars go towards research into 90% of the world’s health problems. </li></ul></ul>
Our Goal <ul><li>To get low-cost medicines to those in the developing world </li></ul>
<ul><li>Aim #1 </li></ul><ul><li>University developed medications should be licensed for sale at the lowest possible cost in low and middle income countries. </li></ul>
<ul><li>UAEM Aim #2 </li></ul><ul><li>Promote research into neglected diseases </li></ul>
<ul><li>UAEM Aim #3 </li></ul><ul><li>Measure Research Success According to Impact on Human Welfare </li></ul>
Why Universities? <ul><li>University research is heavily funded by taxpayers </li></ul><ul><li>Universities are committed to creating and disseminating knowledge for the public good </li></ul><ul><li>Students are ideally placed to influence their universities </li></ul><ul><li>Universities are important innovators for new technologies </li></ul>
Global Successes <ul><li>D4T and the Yale campaign </li></ul><ul><li>>60 university branches worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>The Philadelphia Consensus Statement </li></ul>
Major Successes at Edinburgh <ul><li>Motion on access to medicines passed unanimously at EUSA AGM </li></ul><ul><li>The motion was passed through the university court </li></ul><ul><li>Official Recognition from Scottish Parliament </li></ul><ul><li>Optional projects in neglected diseases for medical students. </li></ul>
What can YOU do? <ul><li>Learn more: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.essentialmedicine.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.uaemedinburgh.wordpress.com </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sign the Philadelphia Consensus statement </li></ul><ul><li>Join us! Meetings Tuesdays 7pm in Teviot. </li></ul><ul><li>Join the Facebook group! – Universities Allied for Essential Medicines </li></ul>