UAEM Europe is the European branch of UAEM, a global grassroots organization that empowers students to advocate for equitable access to medicines, and to ensure that publicly-funded medical research meets the needs of patients worldwide. As a non-profit organization rooted in a movement of hundreds of students worldwide, UAEM is anchored in universities and research institutions where much of today’s medical innovation is born, and champions alternative mechanisms for the way medicines are made.
We aim to:
- promote access to medicines and medical innovations in low- and middle-income countries by changing norms and practices around academic patenting and licensing,
- ensure that medical research meets the needs of people worldwide,
- empower students to respond to the access and innovation crisis.
UAEM Europe has successfully advocated for "global access licensing policies" at several renowned European research institutions, including University College London, the University of Bergen in Norway, and Charité Berlin.
Increasingly, UAEM students also engage in activities at an overarching policy level. They have successfully advocated at high-level policy fora such as the World Health Organization and the European Parliament, and have entered substantial interaction with their national governments.
Awareness of obstacles to access to medicines, in particular high prices, is currently on the rise even in high income countries, and their importance has been acknowledged by many national and international institutions. Nonetheless, decision-makers in funding institutions and public research institutions do not yet take responsibility to make the fruits of research available and affordable to those in need.
To tackle both access to medical technologies in the short term as well as to reform the R&D system to ensure efficient, affordable and needs driven research in the long term, we will be pursuing the following two campaign areas over the next few years:
On the one hand, we will work to ensure that the fruits of public research reach those who need them most. This campaign targets universities and research institutions, but also national and regional research funders, and aims to get them to commit to principles of knowledge stewardship on behalf of the public interest. This aspect of our campaigning could be characterized as a rather pragmatic attempt to mitigate some of the worst outcomes of the existing profit-driven R&D system.
On the other hand, we will continue advocating for a needs-driven medical R&D system that works for all. This campaign is ultimately geared towards bringing about better incentive structures and pooled funding mechanisms for medical R&D. It aims to tackle the access and innovation crisis at a systemic level, advocating for a fundamental shift in the way research is funded and incentivized.