Six Universities Aim To Expand Drug Access In Developing Countries
Six universities have agreed to an effort to “encourage companies to give poor countries better access to drugs and medical products stemming from discoveries made on their campuses,” Bloomberg reports (Lauerman, 11/9).
For the effort â€“Â Boston University, Brown, Harvard, Oregon Health & Science University, the University of Pennsylvania andÂ Yale â€“ issued a statement (.pdf) on Monday that “describes a number of strategies that would facilitate generic production or below-market pricing,” according to a joint press release (11/9).
The principles outlined “will guide how drugs developed by scientists at the schools are licensed to companies, said Kevin Casey, a spokesman for Harvard.” According to Bloomberg, “The statement commits the schools to make ‘vigorous efforts’ to promote global access to drugs through licensing strategies. The six said they will work to include provisions that call for lower prices for drugs to treat AIDS and other diseases that afflict poor countries.”
Maryanne Fenerjian, the director of Harvard’s technology-transfer policy, said though theÂ schools’ aim is to create guidelines thatÂ encourage drug accessÂ in developing countries, they do not want toÂ dissuade companies fromÂ collaborating with university scientists. “The schools will also use strategies such as decreasing royalty rates to persuade companies to charge less or allow low-cost generic production of new drugs for poor patients, she said.”
The article also examines efforts by students campaigningÂ for schoolsÂ to helpÂ expand access to drugsÂ and includes comments and concerns about the universities’ initiativeÂ from the head of Alnylam PharmaceuticalsÂ (11/9).