IN PHOTOS: Make Medicines Affordable – for all

Millions of people die unnecessarily each year because life-saving medicines are overpriced.
Tactics often employed by pharmaceutical companies keep prices high. 

The Make Medicines Affordable campaign believes that a sustainable response to HIV, TB and Hepatitis C can only be achieved if we tackle the patent problem.

We won’t stop until everyone can access the life-saving medicines they deserve.

Here’s an introduction to our work around the world, in pictures.

We are pro-innovation, and we are not anti-profit.
However, we ARE anti-profiteering.
Innovation in medicine only achieves its purpose if it gets into the hands of the people who need it.

People. That’s why we do the work we do.
People are dying. They are dying even though the life-saving treatment exists.
It is reprehensible that pharma profits grow while people grieve for loved ones who are lost to treatable illnesses.

A big part of our work takes place behind-the-scenes.
This includes preparing and filing patent oppositions – often working around the clock to file documents in time to prevent unmerited patents, often with very little notice.

Filing a patent opposition on a HIV drug in Argentina.
Outside the intellectual property (IP) office in Buenos Aires.

Health budgets around the world are stretched – they do not have money to burn.
In 2018 we calculated that our actions catalyzed an average price reduction of 67% across 15 target ARVs in our first four countries.

Trump would like “freeloading” countries to pay more for drugs made in the USA and to enforce this through trade agreements.
The pharma industry is the largest lobbying power in America, which means they effectively have a seat at the government’s table.
It’s not easy to push back against such force – but it is vital.

We work in over 20 countries. Our partners are civil society organizations, representing real communities and real needs.

We use our platform to speak out against injustices.
Photo ©IAS/Steve Forrest/Workers’ Photos

We design ways for activists to collaborate and plan.
ITPC’s Activist Summit, AIDS 2018, Amsterdam. 

Fired up.
ITPC’s Activist Summit, AIDS 2018, Amsterdam.

It is important to stand for what we believe in at AIDS conferences.

Pharmaceutical companies splash the cash on flashy booths, which essentially are a whitewashing PR exercise – the balance must be redressed.

Protests amid a sea of pharma booths.
The booths cover a great expanse at great expense.
AIDS 2018, Amsterdam.

Treatment activists from a number of organizations and networks join protests at every conference – revealing some of the facts companies would prefer to conceal.

Why Gilead?
Putting a price on life.

“Brazilian lives don’t matter to Gilead”.
Placard, Amsterdam, 2018.

The current patent system doesn’t increase innovation – it reduces it.
We supported an app that allowed conference goers to reveal the truth behind behind pharma’s PR claims, on their own phone in their own time.

Intellectual property barriers can sound complicated on the face of it.
We break down the barriers – and the concepts.
Journalist training, Kiev, Ukraine.

We held the first Global Summit on Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines (GSIPA2M), in Marrakech in 2018.
The aim: Examine the impact of IP barriers on the lives and health of millions of people across the globe, and chart a way forward.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Health was presented with the 2018 Leadership Award on Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines – for its “historic decision” to issue a compulsory license on Hep C medicine, sofosbuvir, and in doing so, standing up to Big Pharma.

The next GSIPA2M is later this year. (The 2020 event has been postponed.)

We talk directly to the pharma industry – and are happy to do so any time.
Community views must be represented in the boardrooms of multi-million, multinational corporations.
World CAB meeting on HIV, TB and Hepatitis C, December, 2019.

When pharma or governments aren’t listening we use our right to protest.

Sometimes quietly.

Sometimes louder.

Still louder.

And louder still.

Ironic: Security block an ‘ACCESS DENIED’ banner at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) 2017. An event dedicated to tackling the region’s HIV epidemic. Community voices are key to the solution and must not be censored or silenced.

Overwhelmingly, the press and public are on our side. Time is running out for corporations to act with impunity.
Outside a court in Kiev during a demonstration led by our partner, 100% LIFE.

We will continue to strategize to make even more progress.
We do this across countries and across drugs, working with partners and allies. (Tbilisi, Georgia)

And we won’t stop until everyone has the treatment they deserve.

So we can all have more quality time with our loved ones.
Temo & Mariam, Tbilisi, 2019.