UAEM: Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) is a collaboration of students from law, medicine, and other disciplines who work to improve access to medicines in resource-limited countries.
According to the World Health Organization, about ten million people die every year because they do not have access to essential medicines. Drugs and vaccines are often prohibitively expensive in poor countries because pharmaceutical companies can set monopoly prices for patented drugs, even though many of these drugs were developed at universities with taxpayer dollars. Universities can make a difference: in 2001, after a successful student campaign, Yale got the price of a critical HIV/AIDS drug reduced from $1,600/year to $55/year in South Africa. Out of this movement, UAEM was born.
From its founding at Yale in 2001, UAEM has grown to a non-profit organization with chapters at nearly 50 campuses around the world. Yale continues to play a critical role in working towards UAEM's mission:
- to promote access to medicines for people in developing countries by changing norms and practices around university patenting and licensing,
- to ensure that university medical research meets the needs of the majority of the world's population, and
- to empower students to respond to the access and innovation crisis.
To this end, Yale UAEM members communicate with faculty allies, meet with Yale administrators, lobby lawmakers, attend national conferences, and research legal and scientific issues. These interdisciplinary activities combine fields including medicine, drug development, intellectual property, health law, human rights, economics, and public health.