Access To Medicines

Every minute, somewhere in the world a woman or girl has an unsafe abortion. MSF is committed to providing safe abortion care to reduce avoidable suffering and deaths.

During the 1990s, MSF teams made a bitter observation: we were failing to treat some of our patients suffering from infectious diseases, while in developed countries, remarkable progress was being made in the field of health. Two decades on, medicines in developing countries are still either too expensive, aren't suitable to be used in many of the contexts in which we work (for example, in hot, humid conditions or where there's a lack of electricity), or simply don't exist for the diseases we need to treat.

In 1999, we launched the Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, now known as the Access Campaign. Its mission focuses on three areas: overcoming barriers to access to essential medicines, stimulating research and development for neglected diseases, promoting health exceptions to global trade agreements.

In 2003, MSF joined several research institutes, including the Institut Pasteur, to create the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), a non-profit research and development organisation engaged in research and development of new treatments for neglected diseases.

MSF's Impact

In response to the need for better treatments, vaccines and diagnostic tests MSF set up its Access Campaign in 1999 to improve care for patients.

The aims of MSF Access Campaign are to:

  • Push for price cuts to medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tests by stimulating the production of more affordable generic products     
  • Act as a watchdog to ensure that the corporate interests don’t win out over public health needs     
  • Steer the direction of medical research toward urgently needed new drugs, vaccines and tests that don’t exist yet or are not tailored to the needs of people in developing countries     
  • Scope out, support and monitor new models to fund medical research that respond to medical rather than corporate needs and do not rely on charging sky high prices for the final product to pay for the research     

In 2003, MSF joined forces with six other organisations from around the world to establish the Drugs For Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), with the aim of developing new drugs or new formulations of existing drugs for patients suffering from the most neglected communicable diseases.

DNDi seeks to address unmet needs by taking on projects that others are unable or unwilling to pursue.
 

MSF is well known for its humanitarian medical work, but it has also produced important research based on its field experience with vulnerable communities .

This website archives MSF's scientific articles and makes them available free, with full text and in an easily searchable format. MSF Field Research website.

MSF is also pushing for increased research into neglected diseases – such as tuberculosis, malaria, sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis – through increased funding, investing in research and development (R&D) capability in developing countries and supporting alternative models for R&D

Some treatments are no longer produced. MSF is calling on companies and governments to find solutions to bring unprofitable but medically necessary drugs back into production.

MSF is also supporting developing countries in codifying into law the "safeguards" that are allowed under international trade rules in order to protect access to medicines.

 
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