Centre for Global Health Policy

Annual Conference 2013

Pharmaceuticals and Global Health -

Inequalities and Innovation in the 21st Century

19th July 2013
Conference Centre
University of Sussex


Widening access to life-saving medicines around the world has been a crucial – if not defining – aspect of global health policy over the past decade. What started with a historic movement to make anti-retroviral therapy (ARVs) available to millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in low-income countries, has rapidly evolved into a much broader model for improving health globally. Increasing access to essential medicines has become a priority for many international organisations, bilateral aid programmes, non-governmental organisations, private foundations and advocacy groups. These efforts have saved millions of lives and recently even emboldened the United Nations General Assembly to set out the aspiration of universal access to affordable and quality health-care services.

Looking forward, however, this ‘pharmaceutical’ model of global health also faces multiple challenges. The deteriorated international economic environment is putting financial pressures on the sustainability of programs already initiated, as well as jeopardising future spending commitments for global health. At the same time, the pharmaceutical sector is undergoing significant changes with industry analysts observing decreasing rates of innovation, and with the rise of generic producers also profoundly transforming the international landscape of pharmaceutical production. All the while protracted political controversies have arisen over public access to clinical trial data that forms the principal source of evidence about the efficacy and safety of key medicines used in global health. After a decade of remarkable expansion of global health programs, there is now considerable concern about the future sustainability of this model for addressing global health inequalities. Will we be able to treat ourselves to global health in the 21st century?

This interdisciplinary one-day conference brings together experts from the fields of policy, research, the pharmaceutical industry, foundations, journalism, and non-governmental organisations in order to identify new ways of adapting global health policy to these compounding challenges. Key questions to be addressed on the day include:

  • What are the key successes of this pharmaceutical model of global health in ameliorating global health inequalities over the past decade?
  • What challenges have emerged about the efficacy and sustainably of rolling out medical treatments in low-income countries?
  • What are the impacts of these global health initiatives on local communities?
  • And what are the new business models that could deliver innovative medicines for global health in the future?


To read about the conference themes, descriptions of panels, list of speakers and view the programme, please see our conference brochure: Third Annual Conference Brochure [PDF 1.32MB].



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