UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines
In late 2015, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon convened a High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines with the aim to “review and assess proposals and recommend solutions to remedy the policy incoherence between the justifiable rights of inventors, international human rights law trade rules and public health in the context of health technologies”. TAC made three submissions to the panel (available here, here and here) and supported an additional four submissions made by partner organisations. The common thread in all these submissions were that the right of people to access medicines should be placed ahead of the private interests of pharmaceutical companies. As shown by a number of submissions, this rebalancing can be done without harming the development of new treatments. The report – that was released in September 2016 – makes a number of important recommendations regarding how society pays for medicines and for the research and development of new medicines. While we welcome several recommendations, they should be viewed as a minimum standard that need to be built upon in order to fully remedy the failures in the current patent system and ensure everyone has access to the medicines they need.