Fill 'em up!

Åsne Hanto – 26.6.2016

Fill up the empty shelves in world’s pharmacies

One third of the world’s population lacks vital medication, because it is too expensive or does not exist. The patent system today gives the pharmaceutical companies the possibility to take monopoly on their product for at least 20 years. From a marketing perspective this creates a lack of competition, and therefore the companies can adjust the price of the medication to any level they like. Every year over 10 million people die of diseases where medication exist, because they could not afford the treatment. Due to the patent system there is also a lack of economical motivation for the pharmaceutical companies to research medication aimed at diseases that mainly affect people from low-income countries, resulting in 90% of research focusing on diseases affecting only 10% of the world’s population.

Changemaker believe it is possible to change the system in order to make medicines accessible for those who need them. Three doable steps are: Supporting the Health Impact Fund (HIF), Implementing ethical guidelines for licensing at all Norwegian Universities, and making sure that the Norwegian pension fund invests in pharmaceutical companies that make medicines more accessible and not the other way around.

Health Impact Fund

Changemaker is demanding the norwegian government to invest in a fund called the Health Impact Fund (HIF). The aim of the fund is to create a joint amount of money donated by various donors, such as states. Then companies will get the possibility to register their patent in HIF by committing to sell the medication or vaccine at the cost of production. HIF will in second line evaluate the effect the medication has on quality of life, rewarding the medications and vaccines with high effect on the life quality. This will lower the prices of medication, and also create a motivation for research on neglected diseases, in which medication has a huge effect on life quality.

Ethical Guidelines for Licensing

Norwegian universities does a lot of research on medication and vaccines, most of this research is funded by the norwegian state. The basic research, in the very start of creating a new medication, is usually done by the universities, who takes patent and later on sell the license to pharmaceutical companies. Changemaker wants the universities to have strict rules on the use of the patents they sell. They should require that the pharmaceutical companies makes the licenses bought from norwegian universities available for generic production in low- and middle income countries. There should be a common framework for these requirements, that is open and available for all.

Norwegian Pension Fund

We want more clear guidelines on ethical investment of the Norwegian pension fund, so that the fund invests in pharmaceutical companies that wants to research and provide medicines to low- and middle income countries, perhaps where it is needed the most.

This way Changemaker want to create a system that reward the pharmaceutical companies that will assure that medicine is available for everyone.