We, representatives of civil society – consumer, patient and public health organisations—have formed the European Alliance for Responsible R&D and Affordable Medicines.
In Europe and worldwide, the price of new medicines is rising year on year, especially where there is no therapeutic alternative. As a result, treatment for life-threatening infections and diseases, like HIV/AIDS, cancer and hepatitis C, are increasingly unaffordable for both individuals and national health systems. This is the result of an ineffective and costly research and development (R&D) system that rewards new medicines with fixed-term monopolies (patents) and encourages unaffordable price setting. This patent-based system grants pharmaceutical companies monopolies, which allow them to charge exorbitant prices totally unconnected to the cost of developing and manufacturing the medicines. Urgent measures must be taken to ensure that people can afford the medicines they need. At the same time, new models of R&D must be engaged to meet therapeutic needs.
We call for the creation of an R&D system that is driven by public health needs and delivers medicines that are universally accessible and affordable.
For this to be achieved:
- New medicines should be safe, effective and offer real therapeutic progress.
- Relevant data should be in the public domain so it can be independently and transparently assessed.
- Pharmaceutical R&D must not be driven by monopoly protection, which results in high medicine prices.
- Pharmaceutical R&D should result in public goods and medicines that are needed and affordable.
- The pharmaceutical policy process should be fully transparent and developed in consultation with independent stakeholders to avoid conflicts of interest.
We call on policymakers to:
- Secure affordable prices now. Address urgent access and affordability issues for life-saving medicines by negotiating lower medicine prices and using effective price control mechanisms, including compulsory licences.
- Put an end to pharmaceutical monopolies. Promote generic and biosimilar competition, including stimulating their uptake by healthcare programmes, doctors and patients, and increase scrutiny of anti-competitive practices by the pharmaceutical industry.
- Implement full transparency of pharmaceutical R&D, as well as medicine price setting, by:
- Promoting open access to research data, including data from early stage research and all clinical trials, for both existing and new medicines;
- Fully disclosing and tracking public and private funding for pharmaceutical R&D;
- Establishing a publicly accessible database where national or regional health systems publish the actual price of medicines that they negotiate, including discounts and rebates.
- Promote a new biomedical R&D model by:
- Committing increased public funds to support a needs-driven approach to pharmaceutical R&D that does not rely on monopoly protection and high prices. New R&D models which delink the incentive to develop medicines from the expectation of high prices could include innovation inducement prizes, patent pools, open source research, product development partnerships and publicly led and funded R&D;
- Introducing conditions to public R&D funding that ensure biomedical research results in suitable and affordable medicines (e.g., non-exclusive licensing policies, open access publishing and data sharing and health-needs-driven priority setting).
The European Alliance for Responsible R&D and Affordable Medicines is comprised of consumer, patient and public health organisations. Visit the members page.