Over 2 billion people live without access to medicines. When families in low- and middle-income countries are forced to pay high prices for lifesaving medicines, according to the World Health Organization “this payment can be the final nail in the coffin that buries the family in intergenerational poverty.” This problem is also growing in wealthier countries: 34 million Americans report losing a family member or friend due to the high cost of treatment.
A root cause of the high cost of medicines is the outdated patent system, which is imbalanced – favoring private interests over public good. Currently the system enables drug companies to get hundreds of patents – effectively doubling the length of their monopoly. This allows companies to set prices far too high for far too long.
I-MAK envisions a world in which lifesaving medicines are readily available without excessive individual or social cost. In 2006, I-MAK was established as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Over the past 10+ years, we have worked to increase access to 33 therapies for 16 diseases in 49 countries.
To solve the drug pricing problem, we must solve the drug patent problem. By reimagining the patent system, we can ensure people can get the lifesaving medicine they need to get well.
Here’s our solution: R.A.I.S.E.
- Raise the Bar: Not everything deserves a patent
- Amend Incentives: Balance public good and private interest
- Increase Participation: More transparency and inclusion in the patent system
- Standing for Justice: Increase the public’s ability to contest patents
- Expand Oversight: Independent monitoring of the patent system
By serving as “patent detectives”, we have been able to remove barriers to treatment for some of the world’s deadliest diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV. I-MAK helps patients, consumers, governments, and patent offices to create systems that support a competitive market where the needs of patients and payers come first.
- Providing evidence-based, data-driven research and analysis
- Fighting to reform patent policy worldwide
- Educating the public in global communities
- Filing patent challenges to get millions of people lifesaving drugs
- Defining global strategies and new solutions