Global Access: Guiding Principles

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Universities play an active role in developing medicines, screening technologies, and other leading medical and public health tools that are instrumental in improving health worldwide. While these are widely available in developed countries, in poorer societies, access to vital technologies like these is directly tied to the distribution and patenting decisions made by the universities. Who are these products distributed to? Will they be sold in bulk for societies that can’t afford high prices? The fate of the distribution of a single drug or screening test can lie in these decisions.

Drugs and other health discoveries should be equally available in poorer countries that don’t necessarily have the same resources as wealthier countries, students thought. That’s why, in 2003, Emory students formed the Emory Global Access Partnership, a chapter of the non-profit organization Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, which is aimed to promote awareness of these issues. The organization works with universities to ensure that medical research is accessible worldwide.Globe Graphic

Emory’s Global Access Partnership works to make sure that health innovations developed within the university are equally available in all parts of the world. Since its inception, the Global Access Partnership has engaged in university lobbying, education and policy creation.

These principles reaffirmed Emory’s commitment to assessing the interests and needs of the developing world, and to engaging in licensing strategies that will make global access possible. The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) took these principles to heart and incorporated them into its practices. OTT updated its license template to include a global health exclusion, which is a retained license allowing Emory to license technologies to public health purposes that address neglected tropical diseases in least developed countries (designations made by the World Health Organization). OTT also includes terms in its license that incentivize the commercialization of products with these values, agreeing not to collect royalties on sales for humanitarian purposes in low income countries.

The committee hopes to turn toward larger issues in global health. In conjunction with creating policies that make global access possible, the committee hopes to play a role in increasing funding for research that directly focuses on humanitarian licensing practices. By adhering to these principles in all divisions of the University, Emory shows a serious commitment to issues of global health and access.

The full policy can be found on our website here.