Cambridge, MA- Global Access in Action (GAiA), a new initiative of the
Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, is hosting a
workshop today to assess promising but understudied strategies for
increasing access to high-quality medicines in the world’s poorest
countries. Approximately 45 participants from the pharmaceutical
industry, government, international procurement and donor agencies,
civil society, and academia will be in attendance.
The workshop will explore best practices for increasing access to
pharmaceutical products in the developing world, with particular
emphasis on intra-country price discrimination, a strategy designed to
make it possible for pharmaceutical companies simultaneously to market
to affluent and impoverished populations at different price points in
the same geographic area. Humanitarian licensing strategies – such as
innovative partnership arrangements between innovative companies and
generics – to market and distribute drugs in poor countries will also be discussed.
“We are excited to welcome participants from industry, government, civil society, and academia – all of whom have valuable insights to
contribute concerning what works and what doesn’t in providing access to medicines,” said William Fisher, Berkman Center faculty director and
WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Harvard Law School.
“Never before in human history have we had so many medical advances to
improve human health, and access for all people to these advances is
vital not just to human welfare but to justice,” said Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School. “By bridging fields and perspectives, this
workshop offers an opportunity to develop workable approaches toward
realizing the promise of this moment.”
“We recognize that participants will come into the workshop with diverse viewpoints about what additional steps can be taken by whom,” added
Mark Wu, Berkman Center faculty director and an Assistant Professor of
Law at Harvard Law School. “We hope to provide a space in which
participants can better understand the limitations that different actors face and work collectively toward forging solutions.”
Global Access in Action explores laws and policies that govern
innovation and commercialization of technologies for the poor. The
project aims to develop pragmatic solutions to difficult problems that
have tangible impact on the lives of the world’s poorest populations.
“Our goal is to develop pragmatic solutions that have a real-world
impact in terms of strategies for getting lifesaving medicines to those
who need them most,” said Quentin Palfrey, one of the co-founders of
Global Access in Action who works as a lawyer at WilmerHale.
In addition to Access to Medicines, Global Access in Action also focuses on alternative mechanisms for incentivizing optimal levels of research
and development into neglected tropical diseases and other problems that afflict the poor; improving access to seeds and other agricultural
products that can help alleviate hunger; and promoting trade policies
that appropriately balance commercial and humanitarian objectives.
Global Access in Action was originally incubated by the World Economic
Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Intellectual Property System, under the leadership of Berkman Fellow Sara Boettiger.
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Founded in 1997, through a generous gift
from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the Center is home to an
ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates
working on projects that span the broad range of intersections between
cyberspace, technology, and society. More information can be found at