[Ip-health] Activists to UCLA: Drop the patent case.

Merith Basey merith at essentialmedicine.org
Tue Sep 4 08:24:07 PDT 2018

*Activists deliver 3,500 signatures to University of California President
Janet Napolitano demanding the university stop backing Big Pharma’s
interests in Indian high court.FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: LOS ANGELES, CA  - As
President Napolitano returns to her desk this week in preparation for a new
school year, she may need to prioritize action on affordable cancer
medicines developed at her university. This morning nearly 3,500 signatures
were delivered to Janet Napolitano, the President of University of
California (UC) system by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
(UAEM). The effort is a part of efforts to urge the institution to drop a
patent claim filed by UCLA in the Indian High Court for a widely used
prostate cancer medicine. Enzalutamide is a publicly-funded prostate cancer
drug discovered on the university campus and UCLA’s filing would bar
affordable access to this life-saving drug worldwide.UAEM students’
sentiments have been echoed by healthcare professionals, academics and
advocacy groups since May 2017. Many organizations representing these
interests are also  urging the university to prioritize patient lives over
corporate profits. “As a primary care physician, I see my patients
struggling daily to afford the medicines they need because of their
exorbitant prices. It’s troubling to see UCLA worsen this reality for
millions worldwide by upholding this patent claim especially for a drug
discovered with hard-earned taxpayer dollars. I would hope the institution
would act now, ahead of a troubling precedent being set of universities
putting profits before patients if the patent claim is upheld,” said Dr.
Reshma Ramachandran, Family Medicine Resident at UCLA/Kaiser Permanente Los
Angeles Medical Center and Board Member of Universities Allied for
Essential Medicines, North America."We are greatly disappointed that Sherry
Lansing, David Geffen and Janet Napolitano are hell-bent on cutting off the
possibility of low cost generic versions of enzalutamide in developing
countries where billions live. The University of California has declined to
provide a rationale for why it is compelled to pursue patent protection in
India, after the patent was rejected by the India patent office.  The
prices in developing countries by Astellas are exorbitant and the decision
by the board of regents to support this litigation are a stain on the
character of each member," said Jamie Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology
International. UCLA has been fighting an apparent proxy battle for patent
rights on behalf of the pharmaceutical corporations Pfizer and Astellas
despite having already earned over half a billion US dollars for the
university with the sale of their own patent rights to the drug. This
battle contradicts the licensing guidelines adopted by the UC system, which
recommends that academic institutions should prioritize unmet geographical
and economic need, in addition to upholding the social mission to serve.
The prostrate cancer drug enzalutamide, marketed as Xtandi by Pfizer and
Astellas, is currently sold in the U.S. for as much as $150,000 per annual
treatment.  The patent filed with the Indian High Court in Delhi by UCLA on
behalf of the pharmaceutical corporations would prevent generic production
of the drug in India, preventing access for millions given that the country
is known for developing and exporting most of the world’s generic
medications. UAEM student and Southern California resident, Sernah Essien,
expressed frustration at the University’s actions, stating, “UCLA is
undermining both their public mission and prior commitment to accessibility
by pursuing this patent. As the flagship Southern California public
university, their actions are disappointing, especially to residents whose
taxes funded the discovery of a drug they seek to make inaccessible.”The
Court decision expected in the coming weeks will have great ramifications
for the global health community and inform future patent claims as well as
licensing patterns. The judge will indicate whether or not UCLA will
receive a patent for exclusive production of the drug barring access
immediately of a more affordable generic alternative. Students are
demanding that the University act with the same moral integrity they expect
of their students and calling for the administration to drop the patent
claim,  lest they set a dangerous precedent of pursuing exclusive patents
and blocking generic drug production in India. They are sending a
resounding message to universities, pharmaceutical companies, and the
public in line with UAEM’s refrain that no one should be sick because they
are poor or be poor because they are sick.Universities Allied for Essential
Medicines (UAEM) Contact: Dr. Reshma
Ramachandran(786)-271-1531reshmagar at gmail.com <reshmagar at gmail.com> UAEM:
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines is a global grassroots movement
of university students and academics organizing on  their campuses to
ensure that publicly-funded medical research meets the needs of people
everywhere, regardless of income. Find out more at http://uaem.org/

*Join UAEM's campaign to urge UCLA to #TakeBackXtandi

*Merith Basey MSc*
Executive Director, North America
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines <http://uaem.org/>
@uaem @globalDiaBEATes

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