Tag: medicines

Wemos calls upon WHO/Europe to counter power imbalance for access to medicines

Power imbalance between pharmaceutical companies and governments underlies many problems that hamper access to medicines for all. Monopolies and the lack of transparency in the pharmaceutical industry should therefore be countered. This was Wemos’ call during a civil society consultation initiated by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe) on the 26th of April.

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Covid-19 vaccine

Waiver patent protections is an important step in the right direction

Wemos warmly welcomes the US government’s proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for a temporary waiver of patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines. It is now up to the Netherlands and the European Union (EU) to follow suit. This patent waiver – which would temporarily lift patent protections – will give all pharmaceutical companies the right to also produce vaccines. This could be a breakthrough for global access to these vaccines.

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The Medicines Debate in De Balie

How can we keep medicines accessible and affordable for everyone in the Netherlands and the rest of the world? Now that the Netherlands has made a remarkably slow start with its Covid-19 vaccination campaign, the topic of access to medicines is again high on the (political) agenda. So how can we improve this access to medicines? Several candidate MPs will discuss this during The Medicines Debate (‘Het Geneesmiddelendebat’ in Dutch) on February 25th, 20:00 at the venue De Balie, which will be broadcast online.

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Wemos in EenVandaag: patent protection Covid-19 vaccine affects low- & middle-income countries

It was a much-needed optimistic headline in recent days: the developments around the pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine are in the final stages. However, Pfizer has so far refused to give up the vaccine’s patent protection. This limits production and increases the price per vaccine – threatening access and distribution in low- and middle-income countries in particular. On November 20, Wemos’ global health advocate Tom Buis held an interview about this news in the Dutch programme EenVandaag.

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Analysis and policy recommendations on the accountability at the EMA

Since the COVID-19 crisis has started, we have seen governments pressuring their own regulatory agencies to speed up the process of marketing authorisation. To make sure that this marketing authorisation process is done independently and transparently, the concept of accountability is key. Over the last year Wemos has conducted a qualitative analysis on the concept of accountability at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the perception hereof for different stakeholders in the process of marketing authorisation. Additionally, Wemos has looked into the risk of bias in Pre-Submission Activities (PSAs). This analysis lead to several policy recommendations in order to improve EMA’s accountability and to have better safeguards regarding risk of bias in PSAs.

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Coronavirus test manufacturer Qiagen evades tax and benefits from public funding

New research by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) shows that the German coronavirus test producer Qiagen has been able to dodge millions of euros in tax since 2010 thanks to tax avoidance constructions in Ireland, Luxembourg, the US and Malta. Qiagen is one of the world’s leading producers of coronavirus test kits and is currently benefiting from mass orders from governments around the world. It is one of the major suppliers of COVID-19 test kits in the US. New SOMO research reveals that the biotech giant also received huge amounts of public funding from the US and the Netherlands, among others.

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