The African American Community in Multnomah County

The African American Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile -  Report A partnership between the Coalition of Communities of Color and Portland State University.

Do drugs really have to be so expensive

A liver cancer treatment is off-limits in the NHS due to its unjustifiably  high price tag, but in India the same treatment is available for less than  £100 a month.

In this week's Scrubbing Up, Michelle Childs, of Medecins Sans Frontieres, questions why wealthy nations are not doing more to drive down medicine costs.

Sorafenib tosylate is a drug for liver cancer patented by German pharmaceutical company Bayer and marketed as Nexavar.

Bayer priced the drug at nearly £3,500 per month.

Until March last year, India - a country where half the population live on  less than £1 per day - had no choice but to pay this sum for patented  Nexavar. But to ensure its citizens had affordable access, the country has since granted a compulsory licence clause that cuts the cost of the drug by allowing another company to manufacture the therapy, even though it is still under patent.

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US trade policy endangers access to affordable anti-retroviral medicines

As the United States seeks to conclude the 11-country Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), it is using TPPA negotiations, and the promise of greater access to the US market, to promote the commercial interests of its pharmaceutical industry at the expense of enabling other governments to ensure affordable medicine prices for their citizens. The United States is also using other forms of pressure to criticize and intimidate countries that are seeking to provide access to affordable quality medicines. This is effectively disabling them from scaling up the fight against AIDS.

The United States cannot be seen as a real partner in the fight against AIDS unless it:

  • Stops pushing for strict intellectual property (IP) rules through trade agreements with provisions that exceed IP obligations in the Trade Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement
  • Stops using commercial and diplomatic pressure, such as the Special 301 Report, to push developing countries to adopt strict IP rules that hinder their ability to safeguard access to medicines and the sustainability of public health programs;
  • Stops pressuring developing countries to abandon their use of health safeguards enshrined in TRIPS to reduce medicine prices;
  • Fully commits to implementing promises made by the United States under the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health in November 2001.

Oxfam Media Briefing from 2012 (still relevant today) read full brief

FIRE IN THE BLOOD - Access to Medications

The ARV medicines dispersed by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for example, are 86% generic medicines. For PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief it's 98%! In both cases these are generic medicines produced in India and Brazil. For MSF's perspective on Access to Medicines see their recent Briefing Note: Trading Away Health: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). 

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines

Many important medicines and public health technologies are developed in academic laboratories. Their accessibility in poor nations is profoundly affected by the research, patenting and licensing decisions made by universities.

UAEM is a group of university students who believe that our universities have an opportunity and a responsibility to improve global access to public health goods.Learn more...

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