Letter to president-elect George W. Bush with a briefing on access issues and recommendations – including allocating resources and funding for specific actions against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, and developing policies for equity pricing, voluntary licensing, technology transfer, international drug procurement, R&D for diseases of the poor, etc.
Dear President-Elect Bush,
On behalf of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the international medical humanitarian aid organization and the recipient of the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize, I am pleased to submit the attached document outlining broad recommendations for the Bush administration for increasing access to medicines for developing countries.
Over the last year, the importance of infectious diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries—and the question of how to ensure equitable access to health care and essential medicines for the world’s most disadvantaged populations—has been recognized by many Western governments, including the U.S. government.
The right priority areas were identified by the Group of Eight (G8) for its Okinawa International Conference on Infectious Diseases, which took place on 7 and 8 December, 2000: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are infectious diseases that effect millions of people and extract a heavy toll on the developing world. In addition, significant funding commitments were made, particularly by Japan and the European Union. However, the U.S., along with other G8 countries, will need to mobilize additional funds and other resources in order to achieve the targets set during the July 2000 G8 meeting. The U.S. and other G8 countries should also broaden efforts towards less visible diseases that have been neglected by the market, such as human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and leishmaniasis (kala-azar). Support should also extend beyond the least-developed countries and sub-Saharan Africa, to all developing countries that are currently confronting infectious diseases.
MSF recommends that the Bush administration adopt strategies to fight infectious diseases that are sustainable and effective, and that address both short- and long-term needs. On a fundamental level, these strategies should also re-affirm the individual’s right to health care. MSF also recommends that the Bush administration allocate the funding and resources necessary to encourage the implementation globally of all of the strategies outlined in the attached document. They do not aim to be comprehensive, but rather, to introduce some of the key tools and principal issues around access to medicines for malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS that MSF believes the Bush administration should pursue. These strategic recommendations have also been shared with the European Union and all G8 countries. We look forward to contacting you in the near future in order to have an opportunity to discuss these recommendations in greater depth.