Listen to Civil Society: Medicines for People, Not Profit—Dr Chan

Fran Quigley, from the WHA in Geneva In her final address to the World Health Assembly as WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan identified access to medicines as the most contentious issue of her decade-long tenure. That struggle was engaged, she said, “especially when intellectual property and the patent system were perceived as barriers to both affordable prices and the development of new products for diseases of the poor.” Dr. Chan…

Remove the For-Profit Variable from Clinical Drug Trials

Fran Quigley At first glance, it seems that clinical trials are the much-criticized pharmaceutical industry’s best contribution to the medicines process. The industry leans on governments to fund early-stage research, then claims the patent rights to the most promising fruits of that research. That arrangement frustrates many public health advocates, especially since it enables the industry to collect more in profits, and invest more in marketing and lobbying, than it…

Remove the For-Profit Variable from Clinical Drug Trials

Fran Quigley At first glance, it seems that clinical trials are the much-criticized pharmaceutical industry’s best contribution to the medicines process. The industry leans on governments to fund early-stage research, then claims the patent rights to the most promising fruits of that research. That arrangement frustrates many public health advocates, especially since it enables the industry to collect more in profits, and invest more in marketing and lobbying, than it…

Hospital Bombings Destroy Syria’s Health System

Gina Li The humanitarian crisis in Syria is now in its sixth year. The rest of the world is barraged with alarming images and harrowing accounts of entire families, their homes, and their livelihoods persistently coming under attack. Amidst the overwhelming storm of brutality, a concerning pattern has emerged: the destruction of entire health systems, including the buildings themselves, health workers and medical supplies. Each of these components, and more,…

International Drug Control Limits Access to Medicines: A Human Rights Breach?

Marie Elske Gispen The interface between the human rights and drug control frameworks is subject to much international debate and controversy. This is particularly the case in the context of access to controlled medicines: serious negative health, socioeconomic, and human rights consequences can occur with insufficient access to pharmaceuticals. Consumption data reveals that between 2010-2014 there was a global health inequity: internationally controlled opioid analgesics, such as morphine for pain…

International Drug Control Limits Access to Medicines: A Human Rights Breach?

Marie Elske Gispen The interface between the human rights and drug control frameworks is subject to much international debate and controversy. This is particularly the case in the context of access to controlled medicines: serious negative health, socioeconomic, and human rights consequences can occur with insufficient access to pharmaceuticals. Consumption data reveals that between 2010-2014 there was a global health inequity: internationally controlled opioid analgesics, such as morphine for pain…

World Health Day: Power Imbalances and Inequalities Big Part of Poor Mental Health

Dainius Puras Every year, World Health Day falls on 7 April, the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). Each year, WHO observes this occasion by promoting an important global health issue. This year, the theme is “Depression: Let’s Talk”. This theme emerges from a broader series of recent global and regional processes to bring mental health from the periphery to the core of health systems and…

World Health Day: Power Imbalances and Inequalities Big Part of Poor Mental Health

Dainius Puras Every year, World Health Day falls on 7 April, the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). Each year, WHO observes this occasion by promoting an important global health issue. This year, the theme is “Depression: Let’s Talk”. This theme emerges from a broader series of recent global and regional processes to bring mental health from the periphery to the core of health systems and…

New WHO Leader Will Need Human Rights to Counter Nationalistic Populism

Eric Friedman and Lawrence O. Gostin The need for WHO leadership on human rights—and for global leadership on health and human rights beyond WHO—has always been present, yet has become ever more pressing. A reactionary, nationalist populism has been gaining momentum, particularly in the United States and parts of Europe, and some of its most disturbing features, such as xenophobia and disregard for international law and institutions, are surfacing elsewhere.…

How We Fix This: The Case for a Publicly Financed Medicines Research System

Fran Quigley “OK, but tell us what we would replace it with.” The response in the online comments section following one of my articles on access to medicines may have been a bit curt, but the point was well-taken. Virtually no one who is not a pharmaceutical corporation CEO likes the current medicines system, with its ever-climbing prices causing deadly access barriers. But the question remains: are medicine patent monopolies and the resulting high patient costs…