[Ip-health] UAEM University Global Health Impact Report Card in the Lancet & NY Times

Daniel Hougendobler dan.hougendobler at gmail.com
Fri Apr 12 12:28:06 PDT 2013

Hello all,

For those who are interested, below are two recent articles on the
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) University Global Health
Impact Report Card (available at http://globalhealthgrades.org/).

*Lancet: Measuring universities' commitments to global health*

*NY Times: Universities Get Middling Grades in Helping Poor*



The *University Global Health Impact Report Card* was released on April 4,
marking a new effort to identify the standings of leading North American
research universities in bridging the gap between research and roll out of
treatments for neglected diseases. The report, sponsored by
the Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, assesses the performance
of 54 institutions on two key aspects—commitment to innovation in research
that bears on the developing world and the use of open, socially
responsible technology licensing that helps to ensure affordable access.
The institutions evaluated were chosen because they are unparalleled in
their funding, research output, and capacity for effecting change. However,
The Report Card found gross inequities in the resources being devoted to
neglected disease research—for example, less than 3% of total funding went
to projects investigating neglected diseases and only ten universities had
dedicated neglected disease research centres. Some did better than others.
The Report Card rated the University of British Columbia as the top
performer (A-), while the University of Southern California and University
of Iowa ranked last (both scoring a D-). Further, the report highlights a
disturbing lack of equity in socially responsible licensing and
accessibility in the developing world. Only about a third of the
universities included have technology transfer and licensing standards that
consider social responsibility and only a small percentage of licences
provide for global affordability. This is a stark finding compounded by the
fact that universities rarely pursue patents in developing countries during
disclosure grace periods, which has failed to spur drug manufacturers to
capitalise on an open field for affordable generics—an otherwise neglected
market for neglected diseases.
The Report Card points out the tremendous inadequacies of current
institutional commitments, but also provides a clear set of “stretch” goals
to increase access to research that could help save millions of lives. With
so many resources in the hands of a small group, it's time for these
institutions to extend their reach to where it's needed most.
*New York Times*

Prominent American and Canadian research universities earned mostly C’s on
the first report card assessing how much their laboratories benefit the
world’s poor.

The top grade, an A minus, went to the University of British Columbia.
Various B’s were earned by Case Western Reserve, Johns Hopkins, the
University of California, Irvine, Harvard and Emory. Beyond that, none of
the 54 universities graded earned higher than a C+.

The report card was written by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines,
a student group with chapters at schools around the world. It was released
in coordination with Doctors Without Borders and was endorsed by Dr. Paul
Farmer, a pioneer in bringing health care to Haiti and Rwanda.

“Universities are increasingly trying to position themselves as leaders in
global health because students are demanding it,” said Bryan Collinsworth,
of the student group. “But their definition of global health is often
vague, and unfortunately trends toward easy, low-cost, P.R.-friendly steps.”

The grades were based on three categories: how much research is devoted to
neglected diseases or to aspects of diseases that affect poor countries,
like AIDS in babies; how much effort is made to ensure discoveries become
available to the poor; and how many global health courses are taught.

Five years ago, a similar report card ranking pharmaceutical companies was
created by the Netherlands-based Access to Medicine Index. Major firms
ignored it at first but by last year they were naming executives to ensure
they excelled, and boasting to shareholders when they did.

Daniel Hougendobler
LLM Candidate in Global Health Law, Class of 2013
Georgetown University

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