Access to Medicine - Learn More

Overview

Public Citizen's Global Access to Medicines Program works with partners worldwide to improve health outcomes and save lives, through use of pharmaceutical cost-lowering measures including generic competition. We help civil society groups and public agencies overcome patent-based and other drug monopolies. Our work challenges Big Pharma's economic and political power.

Since the beginning of the millennium, generic competition has helped produce a global revolution in HIV/AIDS treatment. Competition has reduced the price of first-line antiretroviral (ARV) therapy by more than 99%, from more than $10,000 to well under $100 per person, per year. Cost reductions have enabled international agencies and government health programs to scale up treatment, providing lifesaving medicines to an estimated ten million people with HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries today.

Major challenges remain. New cancer drugs are prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthy. Low- and middle-income countries confront rising rates of heart disease and other non-communicable diseases. Many of the biotech drugs needed to address these conditions will impose major burdens on healthcare budgets and are subject to emerging technical rules with long monopoly periods. Newer HIV/AIDS treatments are very expensive and widely patented, blocking the path to an AIDS-free generation. Hepatitis C infects perhaps 200 million people worldwide, largely in vulnerable populations – and the potential game-changing new treatment costs $1,000 per pill. And today’s models of pharmaceutical innovation still produce few advances for tropical diseases of the poor. Better public policy is possible.

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The Team

Peter Maybarduk, Director

Peter Maybarduk directs Public Citizen's access to medicines and knowledge economy group, which helps partners around the world overcome high-price pharmaceutical monopolies and secure the benefits of science, technology and culture for all. Maybarduk has provided technical assistance to international organizations and to public agencies and civil society groups in more than three dozen countries. He is an intellectual property expert and presently a visiting fellow with the Information Society Program at Yale Law School. Maybarduk’s work has yielded HIV/AIDS medicine price reductions, new state access to medicines policies and global shifts toward anti-counterfeiting policies that safeguard generic competition. His analysis and strategy helped eliminate many harmful measures from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Maybarduk studied technology law at Berkeley Law School (University of California) and anthropology at The College of William & Mary in Virginia. His prior work includes ethnography in South America’s Orinoco river delta and organizing campaigns for voting rights and living wages, among others. He is the co-founder of International Professional Partnerships for Sierra Leone, dedicated to supporting public sector development in one of the world’s least developed countries. Maybarduk is a composer and performer of music. See: www.maybarduk.com

Image of Burcu KilicBurcu Kilic, Ph.D., Research Director

Burcu Kilic is an expert on legal, economic and political issues surrounding intellectual property law & policy, trade, information technology, development and innovation. She provides technical and legal assistance to governments and civil society groups around the world and promotes their participation in international rule making. She occupies a preeminent presence in her field as an exemplary scholar who has consistently produced research of the highest caliber, particularly with regard to trade agreements. She was the first to develop insightful analyses for the TPP, TTIP, TISA and RCEP - her understanding helped shaped the thinking and strategies of many policymakers, scholars and activists. She is a lawyer, with the capacity for attention to legal details, yet at the same time, combines this ability with the capacity to have, equally, a big-picture understanding. She brings her impressive technical and legal expertise to the world, with a profound desire to improve the welfare of humanity.

She completed her Ph.D. at Queen Mary, University of London as a School of Law Fellow, where she taught International and Comparative Patent Law and Policy. She holds Masters degrees from University of London and Stockholm University in Intellectual Property Law and Law and Information Technology and a law degree from Ankara University. She is also a SARChI Research Fellow at Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa.

Her latest book Boosting Pharmaceutical Innovation in the Post-TRIPS Era; Real Life Lessons for the Developing World illustrates the critical role that intellectual property strategies play within access and innovation.

Image of Steve Knievel

Steven Knievel, Access to Medicines Advocate

Steve Knievel is an access to medicines advocate for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program. His work focuses on policies relating to U.S. drug pricing and making medicines affordable for everyone. Knievel's work has also included advocating on international access to medicines issues, including compulsory licensing and preventing access-restricting proposals from being advanced through trade agreements.

Knievel’s writing has been featured in The Huffington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The New York Times. He received a B.A. in philosophy from University of Colorado. Previously, Knievel worked with Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

 

Image of Justin MendozaJustin Mendoza, MPH, Organizer

Justin Mendoza (@JustinDMendoza) is the organizer for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program. He works to build constituent power and amplify the voices of the people most affected by monopoly practices and pharmaceutical corporations' behavior on the market. He forms partnerships with organizations and individuals to advance and build a movement for affordable medicines.

Justin earned his Masters of Public Health, with a focus in health policy and regulatory affairs, from the Yale School of Public Health and completed a B.S. in biomedical sciences and neuroscience at Central Michigan University. Prior to joining the Public Citizen team, he worked as a community organizer and policy analyst for Partners In Health, a global health delivery organization with offices in Boston, MA. Justin also serves on the board of directors for Universities Allied for Essential Medicines.

 

You can contact the team by sending an email to medsaccess@citizen.org

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