Millions of people die unnecessarily each year because life-saving medicines are over-priced.
Tactics employed by many pharmaceutical companies maintain illegitimate monopolies and keep drugs expensive. Make Medicines Affordable (MMA) believes it is every person’s right to access the treatment they need.
MMA works to bring down the price of HIV, TB and hepatitis C medicines, specifically in middle-income countries (MICs). The majority of people living with HIV are from MICs where, because of the income classification, countries are often left out of ‘deals’, yet are still unable to pay the what monopoly holders demand.
The campaign is led by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) and partners – civil society organizations from over 20 countries. They include patients, lawyers and activists, all challenging intellectual property (IP) measures that place profit before people.
Let’s get one thing clear. We are pro-innovation.
For years Big Pharma has conflated patents with innovation, repeating that high prices are necessary due to the costs of research and development (R&D). This is not true.
There is clear evidence showing the huge difference between the COST and PRICE of medicines, while still allowing for a profit margin, and, conversely, the practice of extending patents actually stifles innovation, leading to less medical breakthroughs. After-all, when a company can get away with extending or ‘evergreening‘ a patent beyond the original 20 years there is less incentive to invest in new drugs.
Extortionate price-tags for treatment, whether purchased directly by an individual or by a health ministry, results in choices. The ‘choice’ to sell your house or buy meds, or a government’s ‘choice’ of which citizens to treat if you can’t treat them all.
MMA challenges abuses of the patent system. Our strategies include making successful legal and technical interventions, in line with international trade agreements, and working to strengthen patent laws to create long-term change.
We believe that a sustainable response to HIV, TB and hep C cannot be achieved without tackling the overpricing of medicines.
Our work is transforming the patent landscape by setting precedents that reduce the price of drugs so access can increase. While we have a clear focus, our impact goes beyond these three diseases and middle-income countries. Our strategies can be followed and adapted by any country on any disease or drug.
We won’t stop until everyone can access the life-saving medicines they deserve.