Global Health Centre
GHC Event Access to Medicines

Creative Approaches to Improving Access to Medicines Globally: Ideas from the Hepatitis C Experience

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Auditorium Ivan Pictet, Maison de la paix, Geneva

Access to medical products is a complex global challenge at the interface between health, economics, politics and development. This one-day symposium organised in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property and the Federal Office of Public Health will focus on a sub-set of access to medicines challenges, using Hepatitis C virus (HCV) as an extended case study to facilitate discussions and novel thinking.

The purpose of the event is to spur fresh thinking on how to achieve innovation and global access to medicines, following up on the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) Stakeholder Discussions in February 2018 in Bern. The case study approach is intended to advance the debate beyond generalities by focusing on a suite of specific strategies in relation to one class of health technologies, which may be an illustrative example of many new medicines to come.

HepC Event Programme
3 December 2019



  • Vinh-Kim Nguyen, Co-Director, Global Health Centre; Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, Graduate Institute
  • Felix Addor, Deputy Director General, Federal Institute of Intellectual Property


Session 1: Expanding National Treatment Programmes

What role have different actors played in expanding access to treatment? What strategies have been successful in scaling-up treatment at country level? What happens if governments fail to ensure access to important medicines for their population?

  • Philip Bruggmann, Chair Swiss Hepatitis, University of Zurich
  • Heba Wanis, Researcher, Third World Network
  • Gregory Dore, Professor, Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales,
  • Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of Health, Ministry of Health, Malaysia

Moderator: Martina Schwab, Co-head, Global Health Section, Swiss Federal Office of Public Health


Session 2: Evolving Innovation Models and Implications for Access

What drives current approaches to innovation and how are innovation models changing? What has been the experience in HCV, and what have been the impacts?

  • Victor Roy, Research Fellow, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose
  • Rekha Ramesh, Head of Global Public Policy, Gilead Sciences
  • Ari-Pekka Laitsaari, Senior Investment Officer, European Investment Bank
  • Bernard Pecoul, Executive Director, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative

Moderator: Lucas von Wattenwyl, Senior Advisor, Federal Institute of Intellectual Property


Session 3: Implications for Global Health Actors: What Do we Learn from HCV for Broader Health Challenges?

What is transferable from the HCV experience to other therapeutic areas? What is not? What are the most relevant lessons? How can we move from knowledge in public health to sustainable action within complex political environments?

  • Nora Kronig Romero, Ambassador, Federal Office of Public Health, Switzerland
  • Thomas Cueni, Director General, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers IFPMA
  • Sherine Helmy, CEO, Pharco Pharmaceuticals
  • Fifa Rahman, Board Member, NGO Delegation, UNITAID
  • Mariangela Simao, Assistant Director General, WHO

Moderator: Suerie Moon, Co-Director, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute


Synthesis of Major Themes and Closing Remarks

  • Caro van Leeuwen, Divisional Head, ECAP - Presentation of a cartoon
  • Suerie Moon, Co-Director, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute
  • Felix Addor, Deputy Director General, Federal Institute of Intellectual Property



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Organised jointly with IPI and FOPH.