From May 20-28, the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. Each year, senior health officials from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Member States gather there to discuss the WHO’s progress, new goals and global health agenda and challenges. Wemos will be present as well as a civil society organization and attend sessions on Financing for Health, the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being and Access to Medicines.
In the third edition of the Dutch Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) report, published this month, our Malawi country report was mentioned as one “inspiring example” of how the SDGs are taking shape by civil society.
“A collective stranglehold”. This is how the debate moderator Martijn de Greve described the current pharmaceutical system during last night’s debate ‘Pharma’s Other Futures’ in the Rode Hoed. “Although everyone can find faults within the current system, everyone also somehow benefits from the system,” said Carla Hollak (Professor in Metabolic Diseases) just before that. And that is exactly why implementing good alternatives is so difficult. Despite the complex issues discussed, there was ample room for an open conversation and many ideas about how we can improve the system and realize an alternative one.
Research shows major Dutch public investments in drug development
Overpriced – Drugs developed with Dutch public funding, a report published today jointly by The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and Wemos, examines the extent of Dutch public funding of drug development, through donations, loans and/or investments. This funding occurs both directly by financing development of new medicines, and indirectly through investments made into biotech companies, but channelled through universities, public research bodies, and national and regional investment funds. The report reveals, however, that because no conditions are set on these investments, the Government loses its chance to curb subsequent high drug prices.
Why are (some) medicines so expensive? How are medicines developed in the Netherlands, and how does this system contribute to unequal access to medicines? In our new infographic we explain how the system works and why we think the EU and Dutch government can do more to ensure equal access to medicines for society.