BRUSSELS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The International Council of Biotechnology Associations (ICBA) today released the following statement responding to a recent report from the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines:
"As associations representing hundreds of small and medium sized companies around the world, in both developing and developed countries, we recognize the vital priority of improving access to medicines for all nations. Many nations presently do not have adequate and timely access to some of the remarkable therapies and cures available for existing and emerging diseases and illnesses.
"Improved access to these medicines is a fundamental global challenge, and one which the industry, working with governments and other stakeholders around the world is committed to addressing. Indeed, to date, the industry has worked with the Medicines for Malaria Venture, TB Alliance, Pediatric HIV Treatment Initiative, International Partnership for Microbicides, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative and other Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) since their inception. These PDPs help bring complementary expertise to bear on unmet medical needs; distribute costs (and minimize risks) of development; and ensure medicines reach all patients faster. For this reason, we are concerned and disappointed with the limited focus and corresponding conclusions of the recently issues UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines.
"Access to medicines is a complex challenge for which there is not one single simple solution. Accordingly, by narrowly focusing its work on intellectual property rights, the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines’ report misses an important opportunity to drive a constructive and effective public dialogue in support of solutions for this global challenge. Importantly, the report does not recognize that a change to the intellectual property rules would have little impact on access as over 95% of the medicines on the WHO’s Essential Medicines List that are already off-patent.
"Moreover, its focus on this one issue, and its specific recommendations to weaken intellectual property protections, will only serve to undermine the industry’s ability to conduct research, and develop new life-changing therapies and cures. Given the complexity of the challenge, effective solutions can only be achieved through the collaboration of all stakeholders and building on what has been shown to work.
"The global biotechnology industry is ready and willing to contribute to an open dialogue on the causes of and solutions to address the lack of access to medicines. The UN High Level Report missed an important and timely opportunity to identify the broad array of challenges and develop a collaborative and open process to bring solutions forward to improve access for all patients."