Robin Veenman (former research intern at Wemos and Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation & master student Political Science at the University of Amsterdam)
Earlier this year, the Association Innovative Medicines (or Vereniging Innovatieve Geneesmiddelen – VIG – the industry association for the Dutch branches of innovative pharmaceutical companies) published its new code of conduct. Unfortunately, in a time when high medicine prices are a pressing societal problem, the code omits any mentioning of the pharmaceutical industry’s pricing policy. For my research at Wemos and Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation, I aimed to find out why, and came to the conclusion that the code is a symptom of a neoliberal system within the pharmaceutical industry, guided by profit maximisation instead of public health.Continue reading
In her opinion piece in Trouw, global health advocate Ella Weggen explains why pension funds should not invest in pharmaceutical companies that are not transparent about the prices of their medicines. ‘My message to pension funds is: talk with pharmaceutical companies about transparency and fair pricing of medicines. Otherwise, do not invest in them,’ she says.Continue reading
How can we better align our spending and finance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS)? This was one of the central questions at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) third high-level annual conference ‘Private Finance for Sustainable Development’, held in Paris on January 29th 2020. On January 28th, I participated as a panelist in an expert discussion on blended finance in the health sector preceding this conference.
Looking down from the plane, I see a vast green landscape. A house here and there, and beautiful mountains in the background. It is my first glance of “the warm heart of Africa” as Malawi is affectionately called. I feel excited. In the days ahead I will visit health facilities and talk to nurses, midwives and other health workers, to hear about their experiences first hand. As Wemos’ communication manager I of course know of the challenges in the Malawian health system; the facts, numbers, and graphs, all leaning to the wrong side of the balance. But, being there, seeing, hearing, sensing the personal stories; it will make a big impact on me.
2019 was an exciting year for those who work in the field of pharmaceutical policy. The topic of access to medicines is climbing higher on the political agenda. Not just in the Netherlands – where this topic has already been one of the political priorities for quite some time – but also in the EU and at the World Health Organization (WHO). With all this attention for pharmaceutical policies, the global access to medicines movement will have the opportunity to make 2020 a game-changing year.
Winne van Woerden
Cases of soaring drug prices are frequently reaching the news lately. The current system of medicine development does not achieve what it was intended for: to provide equitable access to affordable and effective medicines for the patients that need them. Publicly funded research institutions can be of major influence in changing this – but how? On November 5th, Wemos, Health Action International and Utrecht University organized the event ‘Licensing publicly generated knowledge: seeking a socially sustainable balance’ to have a meaningful discussion on the role of publicly funded research institutions in changing the current system of medicine development.