What Oxfam is doing
Oxfam is working in partnership with other organizations to draw attention to two critical barriers that bar access to medicines in developing countries. First, we are publicizing the lack of innovation for new diagnostics, vaccines, and medicines. Second, we are fighting language in international trade agreements that would prevent poor people from accessing the patented medicines they desperately need but cannot afford.
Oxfam has conducted research into the policies of rich countries and the practices of the pharmaceutical industry that have resulted in nearly no new medicines for poor people in developing countries who suffer from neglected diseases.
In addition, Oxfam has conducted research into how rich countries promote greater intellectual property protection in their trade agreements, and how pharmaceutical companies lobby to influence those agreements. We are also working with groups in developing countries that are interested in reining in pharmaceutical companies’ ability to suppress all competition from generic manufacturers.
More specifically, Oxfam promotes the following:
Making significant changes to public and private sector approaches to research and development to ensure that medical innovation meets the needs of poor people in developing countries who continue to suffer and die from neglected diseases.
Adopting intellectual property rules that create a proper balance between promoting innovation and protecting public health so poor countries can afford basic medicine.
Ensuring that developing countries can enforce public health safeguards under the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, thus giving poor countries a stronger voice.
Ensuring that neither the US government nor pharmaceutical companies use various tactics to prevent developing countries from promoting the use of safeguards and other mechanisms to ensure access to affordable medicines.
Formulating new approaches in the public and private sector to increase access to new vaccines in poor countries, and promoting new approaches to innovation that will encourage the development of vaccines that prevent neglected diseases.