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Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) - uaem.org

STUDENTS WELCOME
UN HIGH LEVEL PANEL’s REPORT ON ACCESS TO MEDICINES

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines

September 23, 2016 - Washington, DC // Berlin - Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) welcomes the final report released by the United Nations High Level Panel on Access to Medicines (UNHLP). Reflecting the multi-stakeholder setup of the UNHLP, the resulting recommendations present a pragmatic view.  The report rightfully highlights that universities and publicly funded research must prioritize health objectives over financial returns, while highlighting that the current medical research and development (R&D) system is failing patients across the globe.

“We cannot continue to tweak the edges of a system which has proven to consistently harm people. An approach to R&D that focuses on real patient needs must become the rule, not an exception. ” said Manuel Martin, a medical student and student leader of UAEM. “The report represents mainstream positions of renowned experts and the scientific community worldwide and provides a commonsense framework for moving forward.”

UAEM students are outraged by the U.S. State Department's dismissive reaction to the report. The U.S. government's position echoes that of the lobbying arm of pharmaceutical corporations which today ranks as the sixth largest lobbyist group in the U.S., outspending defense contractors and the oil and gas industry. Pharmaceutical corporations, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have tried to undermine the work of the UNHLP since its inception, putting private interests ahead of the public good.

“Given the millions of people, rich and poor, who cannot access the medicines they need, a business as usual approach is simply not acceptable. Taxpayers today are paying for medicines at least twice: subsidising research at universities and public funded research institutions, and paying exorbitant prices for their medicines. Governments have a responsibility to stop these unethical practices and to ensure that the public gets a fair return on their investment.” said Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, Special Advisor to UAEM.

Today, the United States (US) Mission to Geneva intervened at an event at the UN General Assembly, which included Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and South African Health Minister Precious Matsoso, to promote the US Department of State's public statement favoring the status quo. Panelists countered the US's claims and emphasized the current lack of sufficient public return on public investment in health and the urgent need to take action to address this issue.

The UNHLP report provides well argued and proven policy proposals which need to be urgently implemented and UAEM welcomes the recognition of university responsibility to prioritize people over profits. Today, UAEM students, many of whom are future doctors, lawyers and researchers, are calling on all governments to begin seriously implementing the UNHLP recommendations. In particular, given upcoming US elections, UAEM is calling on the next US president to publicly commit to implementing the recommendations of this UNHLP report to ensure the affordability and availability of life-saving medicines for all.

END

For Press Inquiries: ali@uaem.org

UAEM (Universities Allied for Essential Medicines) is a non-profit organization rooted in a movement of university students. UAEM seeks to: 1) Promote access to medicines for people in developing countries by changing norms and practices around university patenting and licensing; 2) Ensure that university medical research meets the needs of the majority of the world's population; 3) Empower students to respond to the access and innovation crises. Since its founding in 2001, UAEM has grown into an international network of students in medicine, law, public health and related fields with chapters on nearly 100 university campuses in 20 countries .

Ali Greenberg, MSPH
Advocacy & Campaigns Officer, North America
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
ali@uaem.org
917-733-7997
Skype ID: alirg711
@uaem @aligisreallyme

Source: http://www.scripps.edu/news/press/2016/20160912burtoncell.html


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