[Ip-health] UAEM statement | US Executive Order won't lower drug prices, we need real change!

Alexandra Greenberg ali at essentialmedicine.org
Mon Jun 19 12:28:07 PDT 2017

We wanted to share UAEM North America's official statement concerning the
recently announced US Executive Order on drug prices, which threatens to
not only do nothing to lower high prices, but could potentially lead to
increased prices instead, doing even more harm at a time when we need to
step up and protect the public's health.

Below is the complete statement and link to our new Medium page where it
was published, please feel free to comment and share the statement widely!


Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), is deeply concerned
about the pending Executive Order that will raise drug prices in the US and

Famous American raconteur, Mark Twain once opined that, “History doesn’t
repeat itself but it does rhyme.” During his campaign Donald Trump promised
to lower drug prices by allowing Medicare to directly negotiate with
pharmaceutical corporations and Americans to import safe and effective
drugs from abroad. Today, his pending executive order
both raise drug prices further in the United States and punish the most
vulnerable people in the world.

*First, it is taxpayer funded research by universities, not by
pharmaceutical corporations, that results in the development of the most
innovative treatments in the world. *In 2001, a student-driven campaign at
Yale university
which started to lower the price of a publicly funded HIV/AIDS medicine
developed on campus but priced too high for Doctors without Borders (MSF)
to be able to treat people living with HIV in South Africa, was successful
and eventually developed into the global student-driven non profit
organization Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
<http://www.uaem.org/>(UAEM), which now has chapters in 18 countries

Today, UAEM’s motto continues to be “Our drugs, Our labs, Our
responsibility”. While today public funding accounts for three in four of
all new drugs approved by the FDA, American taxpayers are still paying too
much for drugs, and pharmaceutical corporations are taking the government
for a ride — at the expense of people’s livelihoods and lives.

*Second, the President cannot hide the fact that the AHCA takes away
prescription drug coverage from 24 million Americans by hiding behind an
executive order that increases drug prices abroad and leaves prices at home
untouched*. Today, high drug prices are a global epidemic and access to
affordable medications has become an international crisis. The truth is
that 10 million people die every year from lack of access to affordable
medicine; this number will continue to rise if urgent, sustainable action
is not taken.

Merith Basey, Executive Director for UAEM in North America shared, “What
use are new medical innovations, if the people who need them can’t afford
them? It should be criminal! Life-saving drugs should not be treated like
luxury items, especially when the public funded the research in the first

UAEM and the access to medicines movement has seen this story before. At
the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa, pharmaceutical
corporations sued Nelson Mandela for having the audacity to try to provide
affordable generic drugs to his citizens. The US government, at the urging
of industry, threatened trade sanctions on the South African government.
Today, pharmaceutical corporations continue to dodge their responsibilities
by shifting blame to poorer countries. By raising prices, this
pharmaceutical corporation-driven Executive Order only doubles down on a
massive, systemic problem.

*Third, Republicans, Independents, and Democrats support government
intervention to lower and even prevent high drug prices from being set by
pharmaceutical corporations.* In the executive branch, UAEM’s Take Back Our
Meds campaign <https://uaem.org/our-work/campaigns/tbom/> urges executive
action to make taxpayer funded research and its results available and
affordable to the public. UAEM is urging Dr. Francis Collins, Director of
National Institutes of Health (NIH), to show real leadership by
strengthening the conditions the NIH attaches to university grants to
ensure that medical innovations are accessible and affordable for all

Dr. Collins could take action now by making life-saving drugs like the
prostate cancer treatment Xtandi, developed at the University of
California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with public funding, available at the
Canadian price-tag of $29,000. Instead Americans pay twice, both as
taxpayers and as recipients of the drug, to the tune of $130,000.

It is past time that the NIH listen to its future doctors, scientists,
public health specialists and lawyers. UAEM is calling on the agency to
“Take Back our Meds!” and to lead in the fight for access to affordable
medicines. History tells us that the inaction of the US Government during
the AIDS epidemic led to countless deaths at home and abroad. Even today
only 40% of people living with HIV in the US have access to medication they
need. Will history have to echo the 1980s before the government
meaningfully acts? People in the US and worldwide are *dying* to know.

For Press Inquiries: info at uaem.org <ali at uaem.org> //

About UAEM: Universities Allied for Essential Medicines is a global
grassroots movement of university students and academics organizing for
public control over medicine and its pricing to ensure that publicly funded
medical research meets the needs of people everywhere. 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. Find out more at http://www.uaem.org/

*Join UAEM's campaign to take back our meds <http://bit.ly/TBOMpledge>! *

*Schedule a call with me at calendly.com/ali-rg

*Ali Greenberg, MSPH*
Advocacy & Campaigns Officer, North America
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines <http://uaem.org/>
Skype ID: *alirg711*
@uaem @aligisreallyme

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