On April 23, 2018, GAiA Co-Director Quentin Palfrey presented at an event held by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University on “Access to Affordable Medicines and Pharmaceutical R&D in Latin America.” The event was co-sponsored by the International Health Systems Program and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, to explore access to affordable medicines, availability of different types of drugs, especially generic, and the transformative policies needed to make progress on pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region.

Experts from Harvard University, Boston University, the World Bank, the Pan-American Health Organization and specialists from the LAC region and the United Kingdom were featured and many intellectually stimulating conversations were generated. The highlights of the event involved three panels exploring current trends of the access problem in the LAC region, which included Universal Health Coverage, trade exchange in generic medicines, and current development and challenges of pharmaceutical and vaccines R&D.

Palfrey, one of the panelists of the session discussing current development and challenges of
pharmaceutical and vaccines R&D in Latin America, presented practical strategies for pharmaceutical companies to adopt in order to resolve the tension between access and innovation. These strategies are intended to create win-win solutions for both the pharmaceutical companies and the world’s vulnerable populations lacking access. Non-exclusive voluntary licensing partnerships, intra-country differential pricing, and patent pooling to share research with research collaboratives that seek to develop treatments for diseases affecting the poor, are among the strategies that GAiA has researched and is advocating for.

The presentation sparked rich and fruitful discussions from the floor. These strategies were further discussed in a paper that was published by GAiA in 2017, entitled “Expanding Access to Medicines and Promoting Innovation: A Practical Approach” in the April edition of Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy.

Read here for more in-depth analysis of the strategies discussed in the paper.


Quentin Palfrey is the Co-Founder and current Co-Director of Global Access in Action. 

Access to Affordable Medicines and Pharmaceutical R&D in Latin America