Why does MSF need to be involved in broader health policy?
We can’t simply chase access to new emerging medicines or diagnostics one by one while ignoring the larger need to change the systemic way medical tools are conceived, developed, priced and delivered. We would do so at our detriment, and risk being blind to how global health politics affect our own ability as MSF to make a difference in the lives of the people in front of us.
How does the Access Campaign work to influence policies for access to treatment and care?
We prioritize, rightly, the needs of our patients, while working to provoke a paradigm shift in how medicines, diagnostics, and vaccines are developed, priced and financed. Through analysis and advocacy, we bring evidence and arguments based on our medical experience to urge change by governments and policymakers regarding prices, operational complexity, and clinical benefits in order to scale up care to reach more people.
From your experience as a long-time health activist in HIV and TB, what are some of today’s threats in access to treatment?
I fear that without sustained attention and funding, HIV becomes as poorly managed as TB, and TB’s lethal mediocrity continues to be ignored. We also risk discarding the past 17 years of lessons of procuring affordable quality drugs and diagnostics, as seen in current shifts in Global Fund support. And in R&D, we risk repeating the problems of expensive medicines, inappropriate regimens, and long delays for new treatments if we think that the private sector will save the day.