MSF staff at at the G8 conference highlighting the continual need for access to life-saving medicines. Each year, 2.9 million people die of HIV/AIDS and two million of tuberculosis (TB).
Among these are parents, doctors and teachers, whose deaths create a void in their communities. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) finds it unacceptable that millions of people are denied access to needed treatment. The need for medical innovation is urgent.
Every day, doctors working for MSF are confronted with a lack of effective drugs to treat diseases such as sleeping sickness and drug-resistant strains of TB. G8 leaders have put innovation on the agenda at the G8 summit. They want to promote innovation by further extending intellectual property protection, especially through patents.
Today's system of pharmaceutical research - based on intellectual property protection and high drug prices - fails to address the needs of people across the developing world. Patents do not foster the development of medicines for diseases such as sleeping sickness or TB, which remain neglected.
On the contrary, the high drug prices resulting from patents hinder access to essential drugs, as the case of HIV/AIDS shows. Developing countries rely on affordable generic medicines because patent-protected medicines are priced out of reach.
More than 80,000 people receive HIV/AIDS treatment in MSF projects, most of whom receive generic medicines produced in India. The need for medical innovation is critical. The G8 is focusing solely on patents as a way to promote innovation. MSF however demands that the G8 actively support new ways to stimulate medical research and developmet. This year's G8 conference take place on June 6.