Universities Allied for Essential Medicines

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Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
UAEM NEWlogo HiRes smaller.jpg
Key people
Taylor Gilliland,
President of Board of Directors
Merith Basey,
Executive Director
Website www.uaem.org

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) is a student-led organization working to improve access to and affordability of medicines around the world, and to increase research and development of drugs for neglected tropical diseases. Supported by an active board of directors and guided by an advisory board that includes Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer and Nobel Laureate Sir John Sulston, UAEM has mobilized hundreds of students on more than 70 campuses in more than 15 countries. [1] These student advocates have convinced universities worldwide to adopt equitable global access licensing policies for licensing their medical research, in order to make life-saving health innovations affordable and accessible in low and middle income countries. UAEM has published two student-led research projects—the University Report Card, which ranks universities on their contributions to global health and has received coverage in The New York Times and others; and Re:Route, a mapping of biomedical research and development (R&D) alternatives. [2]


The organization has worked globally on a campaign aimed at encouraging the WHO to discuss an R&D agreement, and is now currently working on a campaign targeting agencies providing public funding for biomedical research around the world under the name Take Back Our Medicines (TBOM). [3]


The basic units of the organizations are called chapters. A chapter is a self-organised group of students, primarily based at an academic institution often with faculty support. Chapters range in size, from more intimate groups of 2 or 3, to larger gatherings of around 30 or more students. [4] UAEM chapters are present in the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Iran, India, Brazil, Sudan, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands.

Chapters in The Netherlands

In The Netherlands there are four chapters: Amsterdam, Utrecht, Groningen and UAEM Maastricht.

Coronavirus Pandemic

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines suggested that government should require necessary measures are in place for availability and affordability of COVID-19 related drugs, tests, or vaccines. [5]

See also

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James Orbinski Canadian physician

James Jude Orbinski, is a Canadian physician, humanitarian activist, author and leading scholar in global health. Orbinski was the 2016-17 Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of California, Irvine, and as of September 1, 2017, he is professor and inaugural director of the Dahdaleh Institute of Global Health Research at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was previously the CIGI Chair in Global Health Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University (2012-2017), Chair of Global Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (2010-2012) and full professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto (2003-2012), where he was the founding Saul Rae Fellow at Massey College. Orbinski’s current research interests focus on the health impacts of climate change, medical humanitarianism, intervention strategies around emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and global health governance.

Tropical diseases are diseases that are prevalent in or unique to tropical and subtropical regions. The diseases are less prevalent in temperate climates, due in part to the occurrence of a cold season, which controls the insect population by forcing hibernation. However, many were present in northern Europe and northern America in the 17th and 18th centuries before modern understanding of disease causation. The initial impetus for tropical medicine was to protect the health of colonial settlers, notably in India under the British Raj. Insects such as mosquitoes and flies are by far the most common disease carrier, or vector. These insects may carry a parasite, bacterium or virus that is infectious to humans and animals. Most often disease is transmitted by an insect "bite", which causes transmission of the infectious agent through subcutaneous blood exchange. Vaccines are not available for most of the diseases listed here, and many do not have cures.

University of Massachusetts Medical School medical school in Worcester, MA

The University of Massachusetts Medical School is a public medical school in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is part of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) system. It is home to three schools: the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the Graduate School of Nursing, as well as a biomedical research enterprise and a range of public-service initiatives throughout the state.

The 10/90 gap is the term adopted by the Global Forum for Health Research to highlight the finding by the Commission on Health Research for Development in 1990, that less than 10% of worldwide resources devoted to health research were put towards health in Developing Countries, where over 90% of all preventable deaths worldwide occurred. Every year, the spread of disease suffered in both rich and poor countries converges. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most prevalent diseases consist of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. These diseases now account for 45% of the global health burden and is the culprit for up to 85% of deaths in low-income countries. The 10/90 Gap focuses on joining organisations together to reduce these statistics.

Global health Health of populations in a global context

Global health is the health of populations in the global context; it has been defined as "the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide". Problems that transcend national borders or have a global political and economic impact are often emphasized. Thus, global health is about worldwide health improvement, reduction of disparities, and protection against global threats that disregard national borders. Global health is not to be confused with international health, which is defined as the branch of public health focusing on developing nations and foreign aid efforts by industrialized countries. Global health can be measured as a function of various global diseases and their prevalence in the world and threat to decrease life expectancy in the present day.

Essential medicines drug that satisfies the health care needs of the majority of the population

Essential medicines, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), are the medicines that "satisfy the priority health care needs of the population". These are the medications to which people should have access at all times in sufficient amounts. The prices should be at generally affordable levels. Since 1977, the WHO has published a model list of essential medicines, with the current (2019) list for adult patients containing over 400 medicines. Since 2007, a separate list of medicines intended for child patients has been published. Both the WHO adult and children's lists contain a notation indicating that a particular medication is "complementary", thus essentially there are two lists, the "core list" and the "complementary list". The core list presents a list of minimum medicine needs for a basic health care system, listing the most efficacious, safe and cost-effective medicines for priority conditions. Priority conditions are selected on the basis of current and estimated future public health relevance, and potential for safe and cost-effective treatment. The complementary list presents essential medicines for priority diseases, for which specialized diagnostic or monitoring facilities are needed. In case of doubt medicines may also be listed as complementary on the basis of higher costs or less attractive cost-effectiveness in a variety of settings. The list is important because it forms the basis of national drugs policy in more than 155 countries, both in the developed and developing world. Many governments refer to WHO recommendations when making decisions on health spending. Countries are encouraged to prepare their own lists taking into consideration local priorities. Over 150 countries have published an official essential medicines list.

The Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines is an international campaign started by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to increase the availability of essential medicines in developing countries. MSF often has difficulties treating patients because the medicines required are too expensive or are no longer produced. Sometimes, the only drugs available are highly toxic or ineffective, and they often have to resort to inadequate testing methods to diagnose patients.

James Love (NGO director) NGO director

James Packard "Jamie" Love is the director of Knowledge Ecology International, formerly known as the Consumer Project on Technology, a non-governmental organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Geneva, that works mainly on matters concerning knowledge management and governance, including intellectual property policy and practice and innovation policy, particularly as they relate to health care and access to knowledge.

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that is developing new treatments for neglected diseases, notably leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, malaria, filarial diseases, mycetoma, paediatric HIV, and hepatitis C. DNDi's malaria activities were transferred to Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) in 2015.

Neglected tropical diseases Diverse group of tropical infection diseases which are common in developing countries

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of tropical infections which are common in low-income populations in developing regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. They are caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms (helminths). These diseases are contrasted with the big three infectious diseases, which generally receive greater treatment and research funding. In sub-Saharan Africa, the effect of these diseases as a group is comparable to malaria and tuberculosis. NTD co-infection can also make HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis more deadly.

The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is an advocacy initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute dedicated to raising the awareness, political will, and funding necessary to control and eliminate the most common Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)—a group of disabling, disfiguring, and deadly diseases affecting more than 1.4 billion people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day.

Legal scholars, economists, activists, policymakers, industries, and trade organizations have held differing views on patents and engaged in contentious debates on the subject. Critical perspectives emerged in the nineteenth century that were especially based on the principles of free trade. Contemporary criticisms have echoed those arguments, claiming that patents block innovation and waste resources that could otherwise be used productively, and also block access to an increasingly important "commons" of enabling technologies, apply a "one size fits all" model to industries with differing needs, that is especially unproductive for industries other than chemicals and pharmaceuticals and especially unproductive for the software industry. Enforcement by patent trolls of poor quality patents has led to criticism of the patent office as well as the system itself. Patents on pharmaceuticals have also been a particular focus of criticism, as the high prices they enable puts life-saving drugs out of reach of many people. Alternatives to patents have been proposed, such Joseph Stiglitz's suggestion of providing "prize money" as a substitute for the lost profits associated with abstaining from the monopoly given by a patent.

The Novartis Institute for Tropical Disease (NITD) is a Singapore-based tropical disease research institute created through a public-private partnership between Novartis and the Singapore Economic Development Board. Research at NITD focuses primarily on developing novel small molecule therapies for tropical infectious diseases that are endemic to the developing world, particularly dengue fever, malaria and tuberculosis.

Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), a not-for-profit public-private partnership, was established as a foundation in Switzerland in 1999. Its mission is to reduce the burden of malaria in disease-endemic countries by discovering, developing and facilitating delivery of new, effective and affordable antimalarial drugs. Its vision is a world in which these innovative medicines will cure and protect the vulnerable and under-served populations at risk of malaria, and help to ultimately eradicate this terrible disease.

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) is an Arlington, Virginia-based non-profit organization of scientists, clinicians, students and program professionals whose longstanding mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor. ASTMH members work in areas of research, health care and education that encompass laboratory science, international field studies, clinical care and country-wide programs of disease control. The current organization was formed in 1951 with the amalgamation of the American Society of Tropical Medicine, founded in 1903, and the National Malaria Society, founded in 1941.

The Health Impact Fund is a proposed pay-for-performance mechanism that would provide a market-based solution to problems concerning the development and distribution of medicines globally. It would incentivize the research and development of new pharmaceutical products that make substantial reductions in the global burden of disease. The Health Impact Fund is the creation of a team of researchers led by the Yale philosopher Thomas Pogge and the University of Calgary economist Aidan Hollis, and is promoted by the non-profit organization Incentives for Global Health (IGH).

The Access to Medicine Index is a ranking system published biennially since 2008 by the Access to Medicine Foundation in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, an international not-for-profit organisation, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It ranks the world’s 20 largest pharmaceutical companies according to their ability to make their pharmaceutical drugs more available, affordable, accessible and acceptable in 106 low- to middle-income countries. The biennial index aims to stimulate industry to improve access in developing countries, to show the activities of their peers, and allow them, governments, investors, civil society, patient organisations and academia to gather and form a common view of how pharmaceutical companies can make further progress.

UAEM Maastricht

UAEM Maastricht chapter is the first chapter in The Netherlands that succeeded in making an agreement with the university signing the Socially Responsible Research and Licensing (SRRL) policy. "Access to Medicine" is the aim of the organization with focus on the Research and Development system and shared decision making with Maastricht University to actively pursue the goals drafted in Socially Responsible Research and Licensing (SRRL) policy. UAEM Maastricht has two active taskforces namely policy and awareness.

Access to medicines refers to the reasonable ability for people to get needed medicines required to achieve health. Such access is deemed to be part of the right to health as supported by international law since 1946.

Health Action International (HAI) is a non-profit organization based in The Netherlands. Established in 1981, HAI works to expand access to essential medicines through research, policy analysis and intervention projects. The organization focuses on snakebite envenoming, access to insulin and developing European policies on medicines. HAI is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an official non-state actor.


  1. "University patents limit access to medicine. These students want to change that".
  2. "UAEM's Re:Route – New Mapping Tool For Alternative Health R&D Models". 25 February 2016.
  3. "Take Back Our Meds Campaign!". Universities Allied for Essential Medicines.
  4. "Chapters Archive". Universities Allied for Essential Medicines.
  5. Pai, Madhukar. "Can We Reimagine Global Health In The Post-Pandemic World?". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-04-09.