Chief Communications Officer
American Medical Student Association
AMSA Chapter at UCLA Fights for Affordable Meds
Sterling, Va., March 13, 2019 —Access to affordable medicines is unquestionably a priority to future physicians and our future patients. Student activists from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) gathered this morning to ensure access to life-saving medicines. They hosted a demonstration at the Board of Regents meeting urging the University to drop its patent claim on publicly-funded prostate cancer drug, enzalutamide, and to cease pursuing patent rights in India.
India is known for developing and exporting much of the world’s generic medications, thus providing drugs that are more affordable, driving down cost of name-brand drugs, and increasing patients’ access to needed medication. If UCLA were to continue to pursue and be granted patent rights for enzalutamide in India, this would prevent production of a generic version, thus maintaining the monopoly of brand-name version Xtandi, keeping its cost high, and preventing affordable access to this life-saving drug worldwide.
“It is disappointing that UCLA would disregard the consequences of pursuing patent rights that will make life-saving medicines out of reach for many,” said Avanthi Jayaweera, AMSA’s Education and Advocacy Fellow. “Future physicians will not stand on the sidelines as medical schools side with corporations that continue to diminish access to affordable medicines. We are taught to put our patients first, and we will not break that promise.”
AMSA agrees with Merith Basey, Executive Director of UAEM, North America: “Universities have a responsibility to ensure the drugs developed on their campuses with taxpayer funds are affordable to the people who need them. There is still time to do the right thing and make a decision that will save people’s lives.”
AMSA urges UCLA to drop its patent claim on this life-saving drug.
About the American Medical Student Association:
AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing physicians-in-training, advocating for quality and affordable health care for all, and building the next generation of physician leaders. To join our community, visit amsa.org.