Have you heard about the Trans-Pacific Trade Pact (TPP)? No? You're not alone. Negotiations are being conducted in secret, behind closed doors. But it's slated to become the most harmful trade agreement ever for access to medicines. It's not too late to act. Ask countries negotiating the TPP to protect people in developing countries. Click here for details.
On April 1, 2013, a landmark ruling by India's Supreme Court ensured continued access to affordable HIV medication for the millions affected by this disease, including the 220,000 patients that Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treats with generic HIV/AIDS medication. This access has been under threat for the past seven years by pharmaceutical company Novartis, which challenged a section of India's Patents Act that prevented the practice of "evergreening," or extending the patent of an existing medicine by modifying it slightly. By extending patents, pharmaceutical companies prevent the manufacture of generic drugs. The ruling by India's Supreme Court is a victory for those fighting for access to affordable medicine—at least, for the time being.
The January 2013 Month In Focus features brief reports on the following Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) activities: assisting destitute civilians in Syria; a positive report on treatment of tuberculosis; an international conference in New York on fatally neglected diseases; monitoring the situation in Yida refugee camp in South Sudan; and preventing a measles epidemic among displaced children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The first new drug approved to treat tuberculosis (TB) since 1963 could result in shorter treatment with less side effects and the opportunity to treat more people. For people with drug-resistant TB, it could present a new lifeline.
This short video report details a conference co-hosted at Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Global Health Program in New York by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) that brought researchers, global health experts, and donors together to discuss the profound need for research and development initiatives in the field of neglected diseases. Since these diseases usually affect poor populations, research for finding better drugs and diagnostics for them is scarce. Click here for more details on the conference.
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), VII Photo, and UNION HZ present FATAL NEGLECT, a six-part documentary film project, that tells the stories of millions of patients left behind by the global health revolution. In Fatal Neglect: The Global Health Revolution’s Forgotten Patients, VII photographers Seamus Murphy, Venetia Dearden, Ron Haviv, and John Stanmeyer document the impact of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the three deadliest neglected tropical diseases—(visceral leishmaniasis (kala azar), Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Chagas—and vaccine-preventable diseases. The award-winning photojournalists traveled to Mali, Paraguay, South Sudan, and Tajikistan to capture the stories of frontline health workers trying to fight diseases that affect millions of people and kill hundreds of thousands each year yet garner little attention from drug developers, policy makers, or the mass media.
The lawsuit brought against the Indian Government by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis began in New Delhi on September 11. This new offensive follows the failure of a previous court case six years ago. Novartis is contesting part of Indian law on patents that enables Indian manufacturers to produce affordable generic drugs. Learn more.
This month, we visit the Ubangi river, where MSF is treating yaws among the Pygmy population; Niger, where the rainy season and food insecurity have exacerbated malaria and malnutrition; and Sri Lanka, where after 32 years MSF is handing over its last remaining project and leaving the country. Additionally, learn about the court case Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has brought against India, the "pharmacy of the developing world."
On Wednesday, September 19, 200 people froze in the streets of Geneva to protest the attack on generic medicines by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis. To learn more, visit msfaccess.org/STOPnovartis.
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis heads to the Indian Supreme Court today in New Delhi, in a final bid to undermine a key public health safeguard in Indian patent law specifically designed to prevent drug companies from abusive patenting practices that keep medicine prices high. If successful, the move would have a devastating impact on access to essential medicines across the developing world, according to the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which relies on affordable generic drugs produced in India to carry out its work in 68 countries. For more information, visit www.msfaccess.org/stopnovartis