Missing Medicines is a campaign, run by STOPAIDS, Health Poverty Action, MSF, Results UK and Youth Stop AIDS, that demands the UK government strengthens our medical research and development systems. This is because our current system to develop new medicines is essentially flawed. Medical research is prioritised according to the profit that can be made rather than our health needs. As a result, diseases that affect developing countries get ignored;
Over 90% of children living with HIV are in Africa. These children are not a ‘viable market’ so we have a shortage of child-friendly HIV treatment. Without treatment, half of children living with HIV will die before their second birthday.
Medicines are also priced out of reach and research is wasted;
A new lifesaving hepatitis C drug called Sofosbuvir has been patented* by the drug company Gilead and priced at $1000 per pill ($84,000 per course!); only 1% of the people in the world who need it can afford it.
*What is a patent? If you come up with a new invention you can patent it, so no-one is allowed to copy it for a period of 20 years. That’s a 20 year monopoly. The idea behind this is to reward the inventor who has invested in the product. Whilst this may work in other industries, in healthcare this means that people are dying simply because they can’t afford the drugs that they need and innovation is limited because companies do not share valuable clinical information
THIS IS AN OUTRAGE AND AN INJUSTICE, BUT IT CAN BE FIXED.
We need a research model that can find our missing medicines, and we have one. The ‘Push, Pull, Pool’ model, developed by Medicins Sans Frontieres, shows how we can focuses on the drugs we desperately need by incentivising and rewarding research for specific problems and sharing information so that researchers can learn from other’s mistakes and test how medicines work together.
Check out this video of how we took to the streets and to Parliament on our last Day of Action to show how this model could work!
This year, the UK government excitingly committed to ‘lead a major new global programme to accelerate the development of vaccines and drugs to eliminate the world’s deadliest infectious diseases’. By funding the ‘Push, Pull, Pool’ model for TB, they can show that new ways of working produce results and we can get our missing medicines! We’ll be launching the campaign officially this Autumn, to raise awareness of this issue in the public and engage MPs, so for now sign the petition and spread the word!
Watch MSF’s animation to find out more specifically how the 3Ps would work: