Adequate health care and the right to security during sickness are guaranteed under Article 25 of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights; however, across the globe, these rights are regularly violated and, for those least able to afford it, access to affordable health care often remains frustratingly out of reach, particularly for people living in low- and middle-income countries. In the U.S., the cost of branded medicines outpaces other countries in many cases by a factor of two. As a result, one in four adults in the U.S. today will not fill a prescription, will cut pills in half, or skip doses because of cost.
Our Theory of Change
Over the past few years, ICCR members have used a variety of strategies to advocate for policies and practices that increase access to medicine to both reduce harm and improve health outcomes, including resolutions citing anti-competitive practices such as the misuse of patents, proposals requesting lobbying in alignment with access strategies, and proposals calling for the transfer of technology and IP to broaden manufacturing of health technologies outside of high-income markets.
The Business Case for Action
Failure to ensure that advancements in life-saving medicine and technologies are available, accessible, and affordable to all people presents significant risks to companies and their stakeholders including employees, shareholders, and consumers, and more broadly to society, jeopardizing the companies’ social license to operate. Without access to affordable medicine,
the people that make the economy run, can’t work. For years, pharma companies have created reputational and legal risks due to business models that put people above profits.
Through a combination of dialogue, letter writing and the filing shareholder resolutions, ICCR’s members are pressing these companies to prioritize access and affordability of medicine.
ICCR members believe that the long-term sustainability of companies requires a commitment to the common good and advocate for corporate and systemic reforms to improve access to affordable and quality medicines for all, especially people in disenfranchised communities.