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[e-drug] Oxfam comment on HLP report

E-DRUG: Oxfam comment on HLP report
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OXFAM COMMENT 

Governments must act on new UN Report to bring down the cost of medicines 
says Oxfam  

Oxfam welcomed a groundbreaking new report on access to medicines 
published today by a High Level Panel of the United Nations and called for 
the UN to work with governments to implement its recommendations without 
delay. During the Panel’s deliberations, the US State Department and 
pharmaceutical industry criticized the report and expert group, 
politicizing the process and putting the Panel’s crucial recommendations 
at risk. 

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam, and a member of the High 
Level Panel that produced the report said: 

“This report gets to the heart of the problem with access to medicines – 
that the intellectual property rules promoted by the pharmaceutical 
industry are at odds with the human right to health. If implemented the 
report’s recommendations will go a long way towards ensuring all people 
have access to affordable quality medicines. 
“Access to medicines is not just a poor country problem. The high price of 
drugs is crippling healthcare systems across the world. Millions of people 
are suffering and dying because the medicines they need are too expensive. 
The UN should work with governments to ensure the report’s recommendations 
are acted upon straight away.” 

The price of new medicines has risen dramatically in recent years: 
-   Portrazza, (necitumumab) a new drug to treat lung cancer is expected to 
cost 
$11,430 a month in the US - six times the $1,870 that leading oncologists 
say is a fair reflection of the benefit the drug offers compared with 
older therapies 
- In South Africa the cost of a Linezolid pill – used in the 
treatment of drug resistant Tuberculosis - put the drug out of the reach 
of the majority of people until the patent expired and the government was 
able to provide a generic equivalent at a cost of just $6.86 per pill. 
- The cost of medicines to treat Hepatitis C can be over $100,000 per 
patient. In France, it was calculated that providing medicines to treat 
all people with Hepatitis C would exceed the annual budget of the public 
hospitals in Paris. The Netherlands government’s submission to the HLP 
said: “We have an estimated 20,000 patients with this disease... such 
costs make our healthcare unaffordable. If we continue in this way, it 
will become nearly impossible to reimburse patients for these medications.

The panels recommendations include: 
- governments begin to negotiate a new  global agreement on research and 
development (R&D) based on the human right to health which de-links the 
financing of R&D from the price of products; 
- increasing public financing for R&D; and ensuring countries have the power to 
protect access to affordable medicines under international trade rules and in 
free trade agreements. 

Oxfam calls on the UN to take further steps to explore more bold 
recommendations such as immediate ban on intellectual property rules in trade 
agreements. 

Notes 
More information on the High Level Panel can be found here: 
http://www.unsgaccessmeds.org/new-page/ 
A briefing note on the UN High Level Panels report is available 

Oxfam’s expert spokespeople are available for interview.

Contact
Anna Ratcliff +44 (0) 7796993288 or anna.ratcliff@oxfaminternational.org 

Best wishes 
Mohga

Mohga Kamal-Yanni
Senior health & HIV policy advisor, Oxfam GB
Editor of www.globalhealthcheck.org
John Smith Drive, Oxford, OX4 2JY, UK (GMT, CET-1, EDT+5, EST+6)
UK Mobile   + 44 (0)777 62 55 884
Mohga Kamal-Yanni <mkamalyanni@Oxfam.org.uk>
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