MSF Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines
Many people believe that modern medicine is continuing to significantly improve global health. Polio has been nearly eradicated, smallpox eliminated, and it will only be a matter of time before cures for all other diseases are found. However, this confidence is misplaced and based more on history than reality. Today, one- third of the world’s population lacks access to essential medicines; in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia this figure rises to one-half. Too often in the countries where MSF works, we cannot treat our patients because the medicines are too expensive or they are no longer produced. Sometimes, the only drugs we have are highly-toxic or ineffective, and nobody is looking for a better cure. As a medical humanitarian organization, it is fundamentally unacceptable to MSF that access to essential medicines is increasingly impossible, particularly for the most common global infectious diseases. Since 1999, MSF has been campaigning internationally to find long-term, sustainable solutions to this crisis. The Campaign is pushing to lower the prices of existing medicines, to bring abandoned drugs back into production, to stimulate research and development for diseases that primarily affect the poor, and to overcome other barriers to access. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organisation that provides emergency medical assistance to populations in danger in more than 80 countries.