Video footage highlighting the inauguration of the newly created European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty Related Diseases, (27th January 2010), can be seen here! The event was attended by Kate Finch, Project Manager and Aparna Barua, (who can be seen in the first few seconds of the video!) Project Associate of the ACTION Project.
With members of this working group representing several countries, multiple political parties and an array of committees (including Trade, Development, Environment and Public Health), there is hope that expertise from each area will help the working group achieve all its goals. The working group aims to improve on 3 key aspects: (1) information on preventable and treatable poverty related diseases; (2) to ensure that European Union Trade agreements do not hamper the ability of people to access affordable medicines; (3) and re-orientate the European Union research budget to more research into treatable diseases of poverty.
There is a strong focus on access to medicines, but as Paul Thorn, Director of the Tuberculosis Survival Project and friend of RESULTS UK pointed out in this video, now is the time for the EU to place greater priority on research and development, this forum can act as a “conduit between grassroots and the corridors of the EU Parliament” to influence policy that can beneficially impact on TB sufferers throughout the developing world.
Maintaining the link between grassroots activists and policy decision makers is key in bringing to light not only the difficulties in access to medicines, but also the need to target the social determinants of poverty related diseases, and develop innovative strategies that will help affected communities fight and combat diseases such as TB.