Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, October 1, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: Join leaders in science, medicine, law, and health policy. Call on universities to make the fruits of their research available in the developing world.]

The Philadelphia Consensus Statement proposes three major changes to university policies on health-related innovations. Universities should:

** Promote equal access to research.

** Promote research and development for neglected diseases.

** Measure research success according to impact on human welfare.

These changes could literally save millions of lives.


Universities are key developers of drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. They can leverage their intellectual property on these innovations to ensure low-cost access in the developing world.

Mechanisms proposed to ensure access include: granting rights to generic companies to manufacture and export university innovations to developing countries, price reductions, non-patenting requirements in low- and middle-income countries, and participation in patent pools.


Neglected diseases are those for which treatment options are inadequate or do not exist and for which drug-market potential is insufficient to attract a private-sector response.

Universities can adopt policies that remove barriers to neglected diseases R&D. Proposed policy changes include: engaging with nontraditional partners, such as public-private partnerships or developing country institutions, creating new opportunities for drug development, and carving out neglected disease research exemptions in any university patents or licenses.


University technology transfer operations are usually evaluated using simple, quantifiable criteria such as patents applied for and received, licenses granted, and licensing revenue generated. Therefore, the positive social impact of university innovations-- particularly in poor countries--goes largely unnoticed.

Universities can rectify this situation by collecting and making public statistics on university intellectual property practices related to global health access and collaborating to develop new technology transfer metrics to better gauge access to public health goods and innovation in neglected-disease research.

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM; www.essentialmedicine.org) adopted the Philadelphia Consensus Statement at their annual conference held in Philadelphia at the beginning of October, 2006.

You are invited to join the initial signatories and endorse the Philadelphia Consensus Statement.