medicijnen

MEDICINES THAT MATTER

Research has shown that many of the new drugs entering the European market have little to no added therapeutic value (ATV), and is therefore not necessarily better than existing treatments. Wemos’ work on medicines focuses on therapeutic advance, based on independent clinical research. We also advocate conditions for public investments in new medicines, and responsible licensing. We aim for development of medicines that address unmet medical needs.

Wemos believes that legislation should focus on the medical need of new medicines, and not merely on quality, safety and efficacy. Current legislation does not require new medicines to be better than existing medicines in order to gain access to the European market. This seems a waste of valuable research and development investments. Other than that, a considerable amount of public money is invested in the development of new medicines, often without conditions being attached once they reach the market. This public funding is therefore not contributing substantially to public health.

Wemos advocates fair medicines and ethical medicine testing

Need for unbiased research on new medicines’ added value

Clinical research that is carried out by the pharmaceutical industry is often biased. Wemos believes that research on new medicines in clinical trials should be independent. This will yield clearer results, also on the medicines’ ATV. And when new medicines are developed with public money, there should be conditions on the profits, prices and accessibility of medicines.

 

Critical political stance

We aim to ensure that the Dutch and European policy makers take a critical stance on medicine prices and the lack of ATV in new medicines. It is our intention that more EU Member States will support Dutch efforts to address the increasing prices of medicines and look for policy options to counter this trend. On the global level, we aim for the World Health Organization to fulfill its leading role in addressing the challenge of high drug prices worldwide, for example by proposing fair pricing models and by addressing the issue with Member States in a framework.

 

Ethical testing

Wemos has a track record of many years focusing on ethical clinical trials in low- and middle-income countries, and is one of the few organizations within the EU working on this topic on a policy level. One of our recent lobby successes is that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is required to submit annual reports to the European Parliament detailing its efforts to ensure that medicines intended for the European market are tested ethically. In 2017 we published a report on unethical clinical trials in Africa.

 

Results of our advocacy

  • Early 2018, we co-organized a meeting together with the European Parliament group of the Dutch Socialist Party (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament on the relation between EMA and the pharmaceutical industry. Over 100 attendees were present, among whom were Members of European Parliament (MEPs), the European Commission and EMA. With fruitful discussions between experts about conflicts of interests and transparency in clinical research, the event definitely sparked the debate on how EMA should stay independent.
  • In 2017, MEPs requested EMA to address unethical practices in clinical trials in low- and middle-income countries, referring to our report on this topic. We applaud this, but following EMA Director Guido Rasi’s reply to the letter, we think the EMA can do more to protect clinical trial participants.
  • In 2017 we organized an event for Dutch politicians in the Dutch Parliament about conditioning public investments in medicines. Speakers of License to Heal, Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen (SOMO), Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) and the Council for Health and Society (RVS) exchanged their views on how we can make medicines more affordable and available, especially if they are developed with public money.
  • In 2016, we called the attention of five Dutch political parties on biased research carried out by pharmaceutical companies, by inviting the Danish professor Gøtzsche to speak in the Dutch Parliament. Several political parties used his data in medicines debates with the Dutch Minister of Health.
  • In 2015, following our position paper on the lack of ATV of new medicines on the EU market, political parties discussed at our lunch meeting with the European Commission about how ATV could be incorporated in EU policy. In the same year, following our contact with European Parliamentary Commissioner Peter Liese (Christian Democrats, EPP), the European Parliament conducted a study on (possible harmonization of) ATV.
  • We have collaborated on lobbying towards the Dutch Parliament with organizations and initiatives such as Aidsfonds, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDI), KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) and Health Action International (HAI).

Our highlights of 2018

The start of the new year calls for some reflection. This is why we have compiled an overview of our highlights of 2018. We are proud of the results of our work for health for all. Have a look! 2018 was a year of new collaborations, media attention, joint letters, political support and enlarging our [...]

Dive into global health with our new knowledge platform

Today we are launching our new knowledge platform. Do you want to know what Wemos has published on topics such as access to human resources for health or medicines? Or are you looking for reports about financing for health in low-income countries? You can find these (and much more) on our knowledge platform. Our publications [...]

wha wemos 2018

The future of global health, then and now

Linda Mans Last week, the 71st edition of the World Health Assembly and pre-meetings of civil society discussed topics of this very moment such as health and environment, or the root causes of health inequity. At the same time, the Alma-Ata declaration from forty years ago showed its renewed actuality. That made the Assembly my [...]

Lethal but legal: how corporations influence public health

Tom Buis How can we protect ourselves against the powerful lobby of corporations that threatens our health? To answer this question, Wemos invited Professor Nicholas Freudenberg to come to Europe to speak in the European Parliament, at the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, and in De Balie (for a larger audience). Professor Freudenberg [...]

wemos_lethal but legal_freudenberg_de balie amsterdam

Join us on April 25 in De Balie: Freudenberg on corporate power’s effects on health

On Wednesday April 25th, Professor Nicholas Freudenberg – author of ‘Lethal but Legal’ - will speak about corporate power and its detrimental effect on public health at an event in De Balie in Amsterdam. Both Wemos and the International Society of Drug Bulletins (ISDB) are organizers of the event. In his book ‘Lethal but Legal’, [...]

EMA and Big Pharma: conflict of interests or not?

Can the European Medicines Agency (EMA) be truly independent, if it also is in close contact with the pharmaceutical industry? Last week , experts discussed this (and other related topics) at our event in the European Parliament, which Wemos co-organized with the European Parliament group of SP (GUE/NGL). In front of 100 attendees with various [...]