With a smile. This is how we are closing out 2019 at Salud por Derecho. While this has certainly been an intense year of work, there have been quite a few high points along the way that we would like to share with you today.
Undoubtedly, one of the great milestones was Spain’s return to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. If you read us regularly you know that this has been one of our central issues in recent years. The Government has pledged to contribute 100 million euros over the next three years, a first step towards Spain once again becoming a leader in the fight against these diseases.
In access to medicines, we launched the “Public Interest in Biomedical Innovation” report, in which we analyse how the massive public investment in R&D in health is rendered invisible when the results pass from universities and research centres to private hands. This report was one of the reasons why Eldiario.es granted us, together with No es Sano, a Desalambre Award for Best Research Work a few days ago.
In terms of transparency, we have made progress in the information that the Ministry provides on the medicines that are financed by the National Health System and we were incredibly –and unpleasantly– surprised to discover that pharmaceutical company Novartis is taking us to court to prevent us from knowing the criteria under which Kymriah (an innovative therapy whose price exceeds 300,000 euros per patient) was approved in Spain. To that end, we have appeared alongside OCU in the judicial process in order to defend transparency.
Furthermore, together with twenty organisations and professionals, we promoted the ‘Medicines at a fair price’ popular legislative initiative, through which we seek to take our proposals that advocate for transparency in health and encourage independent research and training to the Congress of Deputies.
There was an important piece of news in this regard: the publication of a historic resolution in which the World Health Organization (WHO) urges States to be more transparent and to publish, inter alia, the prices they pay for medicines and the results of clinical trials. Coming from the WHO, this is an enormous recognition of our work and that of thousands of civil society organisations.
We cannot forget the marathon of general, regional and European elections that we experienced months ago, when we reminded political parties that “health comes first” and worked intensely with them to include our proposals in their election manifestos; we also worked through platforms like No es Sano and Polétika.
One of the issues which, unfortunately, remains pending for 2020 is to end the exclusion from healthcare that still affects hundreds of migrants in Spain. As of today, pregnant women, minors and asylum seekers who are unable to prove that they have been in the country for more than 40 days have no right to be treated in the National Health System, a situation that cannot stand. It will continue to be one of our priorities for next year.
Our apologies for the earful – but we did warn you that we had a few things to say! In short, we hope that 2019 has also been a great year for you and that 2020 will be even better. Thank you as always for joining and supporting us every step of the way.
Happy New Year!
Vanessa, Manuel, Javier, María, Eva, Irene, Pablo and Lydia.