[Ip-health] Fwd: RELEASE: Analysis Shows Universities Should Do More to Advance Biomedical Research for Neglected Diseases

Justin Mendoza justin.mendoza at yale.edu
Tue Apr 21 12:09:50 PDT 2015


*CONTACT: *Leslie Patterson, 646-200-5326, leslie at berlinrosen.com


*Following the Ebola outbreak in Africa, student advocates and others call
for increased accountability from universities to take the lead in
addressing neglected global health needs and responding to the access to
medicines crises *

***To view full results for all 59 universities, visit

*WASHINGTON, DC*—Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) today
is releasing the second *University Report Card: Global Equity and
Biomedical Research*
The University Report card grades and ranks leading research universities
in the U.S. on their commitment to biomedical research that addresses
neglected global health needs.

The findings reveal that the majority of the country’s major research
universities—including leading Ivy League institutions—are not doing enough
to advance biomedical research for neglected diseases or to make their
life-saving medical breakthroughs available for the people who need them
most. Universities are major drivers of medical innovation. Yet, the
University Report Card shows that universities are missing this key
opportunity to lead.

UAEM is publicly calling for universities to devote more funding to
research, which focuses on the needs of people in low and middle-income
countries. Universities should increase “global access licensing” of new
medical innovations to help encourage low-cost production of new
medications globally.

“Since less than a third of new medicines originate in university labs,
universities have a crucial opportunity to put people before profit” said
Merith Basey, Executive Director of Universities Allied for Essential
Medicines, a student-led organization working to make life-saving
biomedical innovations and technologies discovered at universities
affordable worldwide. “Since most universities are public institutions
whose medical research is primarily funded by government grants that come
from taxpayer dollars, they have a responsibility to ensure their research
serves the public interest. They have a unique opportunity to directly
support equitable access to medicines from their development on campus.”

The University Report Card graded universities on a number of criteria,
including innovation, (investing in medical research that addresses the
neglected health needs of low- and middle-countries), access (university
licensing of medical breakthroughs for commercial development to ensure
affordable treatments for people living in low- and middle
income-countries) and empowerment (how schools are educating students on
global health issues).

Some of the major findings from the 2015 report card include:

●      Even the number one ranking school, Johns Hopkins, has crucial areas
for improvement, for example with regard to licensing.

●      On average, approximately 1.5% of total medical PubMed publications
at the top 59 universities have a neglected disease focu*s.*

●      Just 17 of the top 59 universities have endorsed detailed, specific
standards for socially responsible licensing, and only eight of those
prioritize generic production of university-researched medicines for
developing countries.

Student advocates noted that alternative licensing models had no negative
impact on schools’ ability to fund and conduct research. “What we’ve seen
is that when schools license their research in ways that take into account
and furthermore protect the health needs of low- and middle-income
countries, they are able to save lives and actually encourage rather than
inhibit innovation,” said Alexandra Greenberg, a student leader with UAEM.

UAEM obtained the University Report Card data by accessing publicly
available sources, such as university websites, online grant databases, and
search engines. University officials were also asked to provide data
through a survey designed and provided by UAEM. The organization aims to
use the University Report Card to advance the accountability and
transparency of universities on their research and licensing practices.
UAEM is offering to support the universities receiving low scores to
address and improve their practices.

“Universities play a key role in conducting research that leads to
life-saving medicines,” said Judit Rius Sanjuan, U.S. Manager & Legal
Policy Adviser, Access Campaign with Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors
Without Borders (MSF). “University decisions about what research to
prioritize – and how to license that research to the private sector – have
tremendous consequences for the lives of millions of people around the

The University Report Card seeks to initiate a dialogue with and between
universities around measures they can take on their campuses to better
ensure equitable access to life-saving biomedical innovations for all. Now
more than ever UAEM is calling upon students and faculty members alike to
hold their institutions accountable for their public commitments to
neglected areas of global health and access to medicines.


*About UAEM*

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*.*The US University Report Card has led to the launch of the
first UK Global Health Research League Table in 2015. This League Table
ranks the top 25 universities in the United Kingdom. Other countries,
including The Netherlands, Germany and Brazil, are considering conducting
similar analyses. *Find out more at* *http://uaem.org*

More information about the Ip-health mailing list