The Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge brings together one-of-kind team of lawyers, scientists and health experts to make sure medicines are affordable
NEW YORK— The Initiative for Medicines Access & Knowledge (I-MAK)— a non-profit of lawyers, scientists and health experts working on behalf of the public interest by challenging the unmerited patents that drive up prices on life-saving drugs—announced today that Rohit Malpani has joined the team as Special Advisor on Patent Law and Policy. Malpani’s new role comes as I-MAK increasingly moves to advance patent reform and policy solutions on the heels of their landmark first-ever U.S. patent challenges against sofosbuvir, the backbone of Gilead Sciences’ hepatitis C treatments Sovaldi®, Harvoni® and Epclusa®.
Prior to joining I-MAK, Malpani served as Director of Policy and Analysis at Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) Access Campaign. His work there focused on improving access to life-saving treatments and pushing for the sustainable development of life-prolonging medicines, diagnostic tests and vaccines for patients across the globe.
“For the entirety of his career, Rohit has fought to lower exorbitant drug prices and expand access to humanitarian medical treatments for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said Priti Krishtel, Co-Founder and Co-Executive director of I-MAK. “I-MAK has partnered with Rohit and MSF for over a decade, and I am confident that his tireless work ethic and leadership will allow us to move into the next phase of our work: policy reform to restore integrity to our broken patent system.”
“Advocating for patients is more than a job for me—it is truly a calling,” said Malpani. “I am proud of the work we achieved on a global scale at MSF, and I felt that my next step should be to join forces with this global team of experts to tackle the drug access problem. I’m excited to join a team that is unrelentingly fighting for patients and better healthcare access by shining a spotlight on persistent abuse of the patent system.”
Malpani joins a growing bench of I-MAK talent, many bringing years of private sector experience—including at major pharmaceutical companies and corporate law firms—to serve the public’s interest. The team includes:
- Joseph Fortunak PhD, Pharmaceutical Scientist: Fortunak previously spent 21 years in the pharmaceutical industry, notably serving most recently as the Head of Global Chemical Development at Abbott Labs. Fortunak’s decades of expertise help him function as I-MAK’s chief “patent detective,” helping I-MAK to identify and challenge unmerited patents on dozens of treatments.
- Daniel Ravicher Esq, Patent Counsel: Ravicher is one of the leading national experts on intellectual property law, currently lecturing at University of Miami School of Law and directing their Larry Hoffman Greenberg Traurig Startup Practicum. A registered patent attorney, Ravicher founded the non-profit Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT)—an organization that fought to limit patent abuse and litigated patents in front of the Supreme Court. Ravicher serves as counsel on I-MAK’s U.S. patent challenges.
- Aaron Pattillo, Market Dynamics: Pattillo leads I-MAK’s pharmaceutical market research, analysis and strategy, recently publishing a groundbreaking white paper which found that unmerited pharmaceutical patents on Revlimid®, Sovaldi® and Gleevec® cost payers and taxpayers more than $55 billion. Pattillo holds a MS in biotechnology and has worked on drug access issues throughout his career, including as an advisor for innovators and entrepreneurs.
- Dana Gill, External Affairs: Gill directs U.S. stakeholder engagement for I-MAK, helping direct I-MAK’s national and state public policy strategy and partner relations. Previously, Gill served as the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Michigan Association of Counties, working on strategic lobbying and providing policy expertise in health and human services.
- Martine Hughey, Senior Project Manager: Hughey leads global program design and management for I-MAK. Previously, she worked as Director of Research and Implementation at Venture Strategies Innovations and has spent over a decade designing global health initiatives.
“Millions of Americans are struggling to get the lifesaving treatment they need due to skyrocketing drug prices,” said Tahir Amin, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of I-MAK. “Our new team—with their proven record of public service— is prepared to meet this global crisis head-on and drive the concrete reforms necessary to build a world where treatments are readily available for all.”
With support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and other foundations and philanthropists, I-MAK is focused on restoring integrity in the patent system so people can get access to the medicine they need. The organization works on behalf of the public interest and does not take any funding from branded or generic pharmaceutical companies.
Since 2006, I-MAK has been working to increase access to medicines around the world. I-MAK’s legal work and research spans 49 countries, eight diseases and 20 therapies. I-MAK’s wins on high-impact cases on HIV drugs has saved health programs worldwide over $1 billion. In order to stay independent and exclusively represent the interests of patients and consumers, I-MAK does not accept funding from branded or generic pharmaceutical companies. Click here for more on I-MAK’s impact around the world.