MSF’s Access Campaign is an invaluable actor in global health; shutting it down is short-sighted.

On 20 June, STAT News reported that Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is closing down their Access Campaign, effective as of 31 December 2024. It is to be replaced by a unit that will focus on the direct needs of MSF programmes at the expense of a more ambitious agenda for policy change. The Access Campaign has been a leading voice calling for policy reform to enable affordability and availability of medicines and other essential health products. The news has caused great concern amongst the wider global health movement. Medicines Law & Policy is one of the 108 organisations (and 208 individual health experts) to sign an open letter expressing concern and asking the MSF leadership to reverse the decision to close down the Access Campaign. The letter is still open for additional signatures through this form.

Access issues have never been more front and centre in global health, as the recent lack of progress in the negotiations of the World Health Organization Pandemic Accord – and the desperate scramble to access Covid-19 countermeasures that preceded the launching of the Accord process – have underlined. Even some drug companies’ commitment to HIV is backsliding as is evidenced by Gilead’s reluctance to licence lenacapavir to the Medicines Patent Pool. The need for the Access Campaign remains. Shutting it down means MSF loses critical institutional knowledge and expertise and lets go of an initiative with a 25-year history of making real changes in this challenging area of work. 

The decision to close the Access Campaign not only undermines MSF but also the broader access movement. The Campaign is a pillar of global access to medicines work. If MSF proceeds with this decision, it will leave a significant void in the access movement. Particularly, groups in low and middle-income countries will bear the brunt of this loss. There are no apparent players who can take over the role of the MSF Campaign because most lack the multidisciplinary expertise and resources MSF has.

Medicines Law & Policy
Medicines Law & Policy
Medicines Law & Policy brings together legal and policy experts in the field of access to medicines, international law, and public health. We provide policy and legal analysis, best practice models and other information that can be used by governments, non-governmental organisations, product development initiatives, funding agencies, UN agencies and others working to ensure the availability of effective, safe and affordable medicines for all.


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