It is disappointing that Oxfam is continuing to frame the issue of access to medicines in terms of “the pharmaceutical industry is not doing enough” to help health problems of developing nations – despite evidence of a vast and growing investment by companies in sustainable partnerships and initiatives, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said today.
The Oxfam report includes subjective interpretation of data and seems strangely reluctant to acknowledge the scale of the industry’s involvement in developing world issues.
In particular, it continues to regard industry’s defence of patents – essential for companies to be able to invest the £500 million it takes to develop just one new medicine – as a cause of the problem when the reality is that poor countries cannot afford any price, however cheap. For example, India – with the lowest prices for essential medicines in the world – still cannot provide them to two-thirds of its citizens.
“Oxfam should stop looking to criticise an industry that has done more than any other to help alleviate the health problems of the poorest nations on earth and look to work with us on these issues,” said Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI.
“We acknowledge our responsibility to co-operate with governments, philanthropists, world bodies and major non-governmental organisations such as Oxfam to try to improve the health of those living in developing nations. Access to the right treatment is vital for many of the world’s poor, but this should be combined with addressing the causes of poverty.”
The ABPI added that industry is very actively assessing both its responsibilities in the least developed countries, and how best it might meet the needs of the fast-growing middle-income countries, with their mix of affluent and impoverished populations.
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410