The Problem: Draft Guidelines produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) would hinder – and possibly even prevent – pharmaceutical companies from donating medicines to organizations who served the needs of the poor in developing nations.
Our Engagement: We were engaged initially to develop an alternative to WHO’s approach. We were asked, as well, to assure that pharmaceutical companies and the Non-Government Organization (NGOs) who provided health care for the poor in developing nations would support the alternative.
Our Actions: Our work involved several phases. In the first phase, we facilitated a series of discussions among stakeholder companies and NGOs to develop the alternative approach and secure the agreement of US-based stakeholders.
In the second phase, we discussed the alternative approach with WHO officials and successfully secured WHO’s agreement to modify the Draft Guidelines. These phases are described in an article written for Pharmaceutical Executive.
Subsequently, we facilitated discussions among the key US-based leaders within pharmaceutical companies and NGOs to form what has become the Pharmaceutical Quality Medical Donations (www.pqmd.org). PQMD is now more than a decade old and its members subscribe to the high standards of donations we created as the alternative to the draft WHO guidelines. PQMD members have donated more than $1 Billion in medicines globally and have been instrumental in re-supplying US Community Health Centers located in hurricane disaster areas.
We remain active in the donations arena in other ways. We are advisors to many of the stakeholders and continue to participate in their discussions. One of those discussions was held in 2002 at the Notre Dame conference on Ethical Issues in Access to Care. We helped to plan this meeting, provided wrap-up remarks and developed the meeting report.