Research and development

‘Medicines for the Many’

A prescription for a more just access to treatment?

Whenever the topic of high medicine prices comes up, discussions often get very technical — buzzwords like ‘R&D costs’, ‘fair return on investment’ and ‘incentives’ are immediately thrown around.

While these terms come naturally to self-identifying policy geeks like me and we know the importance of these discussions, they risk blocking out the far bigger picture: the lives of patients.

Thankfully, every once in a while, a patient comes along to remind us and decision makers that while we debate the details of the perfect way to pay for medicines and conduct research and development, the status quo kills.

R&D Debunking the pharma R&D myth - 2013
26 January 2020
Blog Research and development Global

The Big Pharma double dip explained

Research and development Video

Did you know that Big Pharma is making us pay twice for many of the medicines we buy? In this video we break down the numbers.


A recipe for an affordable medicine goes bad

Research and development Video
Governments use taxpayer money to try to get Big Pharma to develop medicines we need. These incentives are supposed to be the ingredients for an affordable medicine. Watch the video to see how it really turns out.

Big pharma is double dipping

Research and development Video

Medicines made with help from OUR taxes should be accessible to EVERYONE who needs them.


Big pharma is making us pay twice

Research and development Video

If drug corporations are using research funded by our taxes, then we as the public should have a say in making sure that those medicines are affordable and accessible to everyone in need.


The wrong prescription for vaccine access

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched in 2017 in the wake of the devastating 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. CEPI’s mandate is to finance and coordinate the development of new vaccines to prevent and contain infectious disease epidemics. The initiative has raised an unprecedented US$740 million in public and philanthropic contributions to date.

As a medical humanitarian organisation and first responder in emergencies and outbreaks, MSF engaged extensively with CEPI as it developed its original Equitable Access Policy, which contained clear commitments to ensure affordable prices, transparency and pro-access management of intellectual property generated with CEPI funding – all a reflection of CEPI’s promise of public interest research and development. However, in December 2018 the CEPI Board adopted a revised policy that undermines these earlier commitments for CEPI-funded vaccines.

This policy brief examines the worrying shortcomings of CEPI’s revised access policy as reflected in subsequent documents released by CEPI. We recommend changes required to safeguard people’s access to lifesaving vaccines and ensure CEPI’s public and philanthropic funding is used responsibly.

vaccines Research and development Technical brief innovationoutbreak response
Nurse preparing the Ebola vaccine in the site of Bikoro Photograph by Louise Annaud

Affordable access to lifesaving vaccines not guaranteed as CEPI continues to avoid concrete commitments


Affordable access to lifesaving vaccines not guaranteed as CEPI continues to avoid concrete commitments

Subscribe to Research and development