- Thirty organizations demand more resources for the healthcare system and greater investment in research, also for bacterial and infectious diseases, which have hitherto been forgotten.
- The Government must be prepared to adopt exceptional measures that guarantee the supply and affordable prices of medicines, in addition to compulsory licences or the public production of medicines.
- We demand that the considerable public investment earmarked for research should not give rise to extortionately priced treatments and monopolies.
An open letter addressed to the Government, promoted by Salud por Derecho, in the framework of the campaign No es Sano (It’s Not Healthy campaign) and signed by thirty organizations, calls for measures that reinforce the public health system. We assure that it is necessary to increase public spending in the health sector, in order to attend to patients’ needs and to deal with the problems created by the budget cuts of recent years. Only then will the public system be prepared to confront this and other emergencies that may arise in the future. “From this experience we have learned that it is necessary to invest in healthcare. We have also seen the results of putting our healthcare system under a strain, both in terms of economic and human resources”, the letter states.
Many research projects have been launched in the past few months to find vaccines or treatments that can fight COVID-19. It is essential, the organisations remind us, that the Government should adopt measures that safeguard this public investment so that when the results of the research made in public institutions pass into private hands, the treatments that are subsequently developed are fairly priced.
“Access must be guaranteed for all persons who need it. This can only be achieved by preventing monopolies and exclusive rights, in the case of transferring a medication to the private sector”. Measures such as compulsory licenses (that is to say, temporarily suspend the exclusive rights of the patent holder so a generic version of the drug may be produced) or the public production of medicines, are enshrined in the Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and could be used by the Government to ensure supply and fair prices of necessary drugs to protect people’s health during this epidemic.
Likewise, the letter also demands that greater research be carried out on infectious and bacterial diseases -pathologies that are currently paid very little attention. Therefore they seek a change in the research criteria so it may be defined by the needs of the population and not by the profitability of the treatments. “It is essential to avoid the excessive concentration of limited resources in a few diseases and to increase funding in a diversified and rebalanced R&D, with independent clinical trials”, without the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.
The signatory organisations also demand that the Government should guarantee universal healthcare, without exceptions. “The virus does not discriminate based on places of residence or of origin. Pandemics and epidemics are public healthcare issues that affect the entire population, especially the most vulnerable sections, and these must be solved with universal access to healthcare”, the letter reminds everyone.
For all these measures to be effective and to gain the people’s confidence, they must be transparent and properly accounted for. This will ensure “the best decision making based on clinical evidence, development and production costs, safety and effectiveness of the medicines and healthcare technologies that are made available to the people”; thus ends the letter.
This letter is an initiative of the organizations promoting No Es Sano (It’s Not Healthy) campaign:
Asociación por un Acceso Justo al Medicamento (AAJM), Confederación Estatal de Consumidores y Usuarios (CECU), Médicos del Mundo, No Gracias, Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU), Salud por Derecho, Sociedad Española de Salud Pública y Administración Sanitaria (SESPAS).
Asociación de Afectadas por la Vacuna del Papiloma (AAVP), Alianza por la Solidaridad, ANESVAD, Apoyo Positivo, Asociación de Residentes de Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública (ARES), Asociación de Usuarios de la Sanidad de Murcia, Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR), Consejo Estatal de Estudiantes de Medicina (CEEM), Coordinadora Estatal de VIH y Sida (CESIDA), CIECODE, Asociación de Consumidores y Usuarios de Murcia (CONSUMUR), Coordinadora de ONGD- España (CONGDE), Farmacéuticos Mundi, Federación para la Defensa de la Sanidad Pública (FADSP), Federación Española de Estudiantes de Medicina para la Cooperación Internacional (IFMSA- Spain), Medicus Mundi, Plataforma de Afectados por la Hepatitis C (PLAFHC), Red Española de Atención Primaria (REAP), Sociedad Española de Enfermería Familiar y Comunitaria de Asturias (SEAPA), Sociedad Española de Médicos de Atención Primaria (SEMERGEN), Sociedad Española de Medicina de Familia y Comunitaria (SEMFYC), Sociedad Española de Médicos Generales y de Familia (SEMG), Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), Unión Sindical Obrera (USO).