Currently, one in six people worldwide suffer from at least one or more neglected diseases. 30% of the world’s people do not have regular access to essential medicines, a figure that reaches 50% in developing countries. Students and researchers can play a very important role in responding to this difficult reality as it is precisely in universities where the first steps of research and development for life-saving medical treatments take place.
On Monday, November 4th, we had the opportunity to organize a working session with representatives from Universities Allied for Essential Medicines Europe (UAEM) and Buko Pharma to discuss this issue. These organizations, which are also dedicated to defending the right to health and which have a very strong trajectory in defending access to medicines, presented in the center of Madrid the actions that young students can take to raise awareness on this issue in their communities.
The week prior, UAEM Madrid was also presented at the Faculty of Medicine of at Madridâs Universidad Complutense, along with students from Universidad Autonoma. Also, in a few weeks, the UAEM group will be presented at the University of Zaragoza, thus increasing the number of students who join this international movement that promotes access to medicines and implementation of socially responsible licensing practices in R&D. Members of each of these groups are those who participated and exchanged views during the event held in Madrid, in which several key points were highlighted:
- The failures of the current biomedical innovation system affect both developing and developed countries.
- Investigations carried out in publicly funded research centers should be governed by practices that ensure access to the final products as public goods.
- It is necessary to bring together efforts and create synergies between the various stakeholders involved in order to promote a more efficient, productive, and needs-driven biomedical R & D system.
Everyone who participated in this event agreed that it is precisely through the exchange of ideas and by keeping the channels of communication open as best as possible can we establish a program of action to strengthen the R&D system so that it responds to the real health needs of people.
If you study medicine, biology, law, humanities or engineering, join us in being part of the change.
Click here to see the presentation shared by UAEM at the event.
Communication & Advocacy Junior Officer
 WHO, âWorking to overcome the global impact of neglected diseasesâ (Exec. Summary), 2010 p.1
 WHO Policy Perspectives in Medicine: âEquitable access to essential medicines: a framework for collective action.â March 2004