Millions of poor people around the world fall sick and die because they lack access to the diagnostics, vaccines, and medicines needed to identify, prevent, or treat debilitating diseases.
Oxfam is working to educate the public about ways to support the research and development of new medicines and help poor countries in their efforts to make existing medicines and vaccines more affordable.
Many life-saving medicines for poor people simply do not exist because the pharmaceutical industry does not consider their development a commercial priority. At the same time, there is currently insufficient public funding available for the research and development of these kinds of medicines and vaccines.
Making matters worse, some pharmaceutical companies and rich countries actually interfere with the right of developing countries to legally introduce affordable, generic versions of their medicines and vaccines. This is despite a World Trade Organization ministerial agreement in 2001, which reaffirms that intellectual property rules should not block the efforts of developing countries to protect public health.
Furthermore, a new trade agreement under negotiation among 12 countries and the European Union could block legitimate trade in generic medicines by facilitating their confusion with counterfeit medicines that are falsified and manufactured by criminal networks.