Making Affordable Medicine a Priority
A Prescription for Change – Making Affordable Medicine a Priority
by Alison Lawton
When we launched the Access Our Medicine Initiative on World Health Day last year I didn’t know if anyone would respond.
We knew that the price of medicine was rising for life-changing medicines with devastating consequences for everyone, around the globe. We learned of people choosing between food and medicine, being pushed into poverty and even dying because they couldn’t afford medicine they needed.
But I also knew that for many people the issue of access to affordable medicine just isn’t top of mind until they or their loved ones become sick. By then its too late - who has energy to talk about ways to improve the system and make medicine affordable at the moment when the priority is on advocating health for themselves or their friends and family?
And yet, the response has been overwhelming. People from all walks of life have shown their support and put their names to a declaration - a statement that everyone should have access to affordable medicine.
Sir Richard Branson, global health leaders and another 100,000 of us from 157 countries have signed as well as over 160 organizations representing just under 800 million people dealing with a wide range of issues including cancer, diabetes, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.
From San Francisco to New York, London to Toronto, Johannesburg to Bejing, people have declared that affordable medicine needs to be a reality.
The Thunderous Next Step!
So far individuals have heard about the declaration by email or word and mouth. We want to raise awareness by trying an online tool called a Thunderclap - a way for thousands of people to simultaneously communicate a message through their networks and catch the world’s attention.
Our goal is reach over 30 million people. To achieve that we need individuals and organizations committed to this issue to join this Thunderclap with us.
The Thunderclap messages will be blasted out on May 6th and the results will be shared with governments, businesses, and civil society organizations in the middle of negotiations on the UN Sustainable Development Goals - which determine the global priorities for the next 15 years and allow us to expect measurable results.
These results will be a collective call to meet a challenge: Find practical ways to ensure that breakthroughs in medicine are shared with all.
No medicine should be out of reach because of its price. Let’s make access to affordable medicine a reality.