Global Medical Students Call For Shift To Health Over Trade, R&D

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Universities Allied for Essential Medicines is calling for new incentive models for research and development so that new treatments can be found for neglected tropical diseases to fight antibiotic resistance, and is asking that health issues supersede trade interests.

In a press release, the international student-run non-profit organisation welcomed the proposed goals of the United Nations General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, issued in July.

The Open Working Group, working on the UN post-2015 development agenda, proposed 17 goals [pdf] and 169 targets on sustainable development issues including the improvement of health.

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) underlined Goal 3.b, which deals with research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases (such as cancer, diabetes, obesity) primarily affecting developing countries.

They also applauded goal 17.10, which is to promote a non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization.

On proposed goal 3.b, UAEM urged the working group “to recognize that departing from the traditional model, which relies on high prices and profits to incentivize R&D, is crucial to the development of new medicines,” so that areas of low profitability, such as antibiotics and diseases affecting poor populations, can benefit from a shift in R&D models.

On 17.10, UAEM asked “any trade agenda promotes and supports the right of nation states to use TRIPS [WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights] flexibilities as clarified by the Doha Declaration.”

They also urged the UN “to recognize that the right of its member states to regulate with regards to health innovations must take precedence over trade, particularly in low and middle-income countries.”


Catherine Saez may be reached at

Creative Commons License"Global Medical Students Call For Shift To Health Over Trade, R&D" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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