[Ip-health] MSF wants the Naked Truth on R&D as new report launched

Joanna Keenan joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Wed Sep 14 08:29:36 PDT 2016

Busy day for access to medicines at MSF!

Today we have also launched a new report that looks at our current R&D
system, Lives on the Edge. Available in full report and shorter briefing
formats, it outlines the problems with our current R&D system and the ways
we could be doing R&D to get the medicines we need at prices we can all

Also released - and PLEASE SHARE widely! - a video, The Naked Truth, which
aims to expose the lack of transparency from the pharma industry on R&D
costs. Disponible en francais, espanol (pls ask).

The Naked Truth: http://www.msfaccess.org/content/naked-truth

Full report, Lives on the Edge:

Briefing, Time to Align Medical Research:

Press release:

*As UN General Assembly starts, MSF urges governments to set medical
research policies that align with people’s health needs *

*New MSF report exposes pharma industry failings and highlights new ways of
researching and developing medicines that address public health needs *


*Geneva, 14 September, 2016* – Governments must do more to promote the
development of desperately-needed new medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics
at affordable prices, urges international medical humanitarian organisation
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in a new report. As the 193 Member States of
the United Nations meet at the General Assembly in New York this week,
countries must prioritise urgent action to address some of the failures of
research and development (R&D) into essential new drugs – such as
antibiotics – and their often sky-high prices.

MSF’s report, *Lives on the Edge: Time to Align Medical Research and
Development with People’s Health Needs*
<http://msfaccess.org/content/rd-report-lives-edge>, diagnoses the failure
of the current R&D system, and outlines new ways of developing tools to
better address the medical needs of people, at prices they can afford.
Governments must seize the opportunity to take action now, particularly in
light of a forthcoming report on these issues commissioned by the UN
Secretary General, and as world leaders gather at a UN summit to agree to
collective action to address the crisis of drug-resistant infections, or
antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

“People in poor and wealthy countries alike are now finding that the
medicines they need either don’t exist, or are priced so high they can’t
afford them, and governments need to solve these problems,” said Katy
Athersuch, Medical Access and Innovation Policy Advisor of MSF’s Access
Campaign. “At this year’s UN General Assembly, governments must seize the
opportunity to support measures that will ensure new affordable medicines
are developed to meet urgent health needs – they cannot afford to simply
prescribe the same old failed policies.”

Pharmaceutical corporations woefully under-invest in research for diseases
that aren’t lucrative, while governments have failed to ensure that
taxpayer-funded research addresses priority health needs. A lack of
diagnostic tools, vaccines, and medicines for Ebola and drug-resistant
infections, for example, illustrate that the industry’s focus is on how the
financial bottom line looks for companies and their shareholders, rather
than on meeting pressing medical needs. With new hepatitis C medicines
priced at US$1,000 per pill in places, the exorbitant prices pharmaceutical
corporations charge people for lifesaving medicines is under intense
scrutiny across many of the 193 UN member countries.

“The needs of people in the poorest countries are going unnoticed by
pharmaceutical corporations. In the last half century, we’ve had just two
new drugs developed to treat tuberculosis, the world’s top infectious
disease killer responsible for 1.5 million deaths a year,” said Dr.
Jennifer Hughes, TB doctor for MSF South Africa. “The people who MSF treats
for drug-resistant TB need treatments that don’t leave them deaf or
suicidal, and that give them better odds of being cured than just one in
two. But the current way new drugs get developed means that pharmaceutical
corporations aren’t interested in delivering better treatments for TB – as
there’s not enough profit in it for them.”

Governments must introduce new approaches to R&D for medical tools to
better diagnose and treat the health needs of people in all countries – and
at affordable prices. These approaches need to break the links that tie
medical research to high prices through monopoly-based market protections.  One
example of this new approach to R&D is the 3P Project, an initiative
between MSF and other organisations involved in TB that aims to conduct
collaborative research to develop new treatment regimens for tuberculosis
by sharing data and intellectual property, and by paying for research using
a novel combination of grants and prizes.

“The old ways of conducting R&D for new medicines clearly no longer work –
not for the poorest countries, and increasingly not for the wealthiest
countries either,” said Ms Athersuch. “We need to completely re-write the
rule-book for medical R&D: it is time to try something new.  With the UN
Secretary General spearheading an effort to improve innovation of, and
access to, health technologies, and a high-level global summit taking place
on the global crisis of drug-resistant infections, this year’s UN General
Assembly offers critical opportunities for governments to chart a new
course for medical R&D.”

*Joanna Keenan*
Press Officer
Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
P: +41 22 849 87 45
M: +41 79 203 13 02
E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
T: @joanna_keenan


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