Campaign for Fighting Diseases
The Campaign for Fighting Diseases is a project, funded in part by the drug industry, that seeks to "educate the public about the need for more market-oriented approaches to global health issues," according to Philip Stevens, the group's director. The group was launched in 2004 and is run out of the offices of the International Policy Network (IPN), a corporate-funded free market think tank. The project was launched in June 2004 and flagged that it would "focus on emphasising the positive role played by economic and technological development in improving the availability of clean water, sanitation, medicines, affordable and nutritious food."
In its 2006 annual report to the U.K Charity Commission, IPN stated that it spent £26,000 on the project, a big drop from the £55,969 spent on it in the previous year.
In its 2006 annual report IPN states that its health project "continued to raise awareness and understanding of barriers to access to medicines in less developed countries resulting from public policies. A significant contribution to debate was IPN's role as secretariat for sixteen think-tanks who produced and published the Civil Society Report on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Health. This report identified various public policy barriers to access to medicines - including tariffs, underinvestment in health infrastructure and dysfunctional risk pooling mechanisms - and presented a case that institutional reform is a precondition for enabling the poor to improve their health."
IPN boasted that the small amount spent on the project had been effective in garnering media coverage and building links with receptive government agencies. "The authors and think-tanks associated with the Civil Society Report received a considerable amount of media attention. The Alternate Solutions Institute (ASI) in Lahore, Pakistan, distributed copies to medical institutions, the media, policymakers and opinion leaders. The report was reviewed in Dawn, Pakistan's main English newspaper, and in Pulse, a medical newspaper. In turn, this coverage generated further interest in the report and in the ASI. Another partner, IMANI, Ghana, distributed the report in its country, leading to the Executive Director's subsequent collaboration with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health on a project to analyse the economic burden of disease."
It also listed some of its other activities as having been a report on counterfeit medicines and that "IPN speakers addressed a meeting in Washington on "Combating the Diseases of Poverty"; IPN participated in the XVIth International Aids Conference in Toronto; a meeting on the dangers of limiting patient choice was co-sponsored in Washington; speakers addressed the Asian Institute of Management Health Policy Forum in Manila; and IPN was represented at the annual meeting of the Global Forum for Health Research in Cairo and at a meeting of the World Health Organisation Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property."
The IPN does not disclose who funds it beyond a general statement that it receives "donations from private individuals, businesses and foundations". Nor does the Campaign for Fighting Diseases disclose which companies financially support it.
Shortly after it was launched a columnist in The Times referred to the "Big Pharma-funded Campaign for Fighting Diseases. Coincidentally, pamphlet after pamphlet from IPN recommends policies that would further boost the gargantuan profits of Pfizer, the world’s biggest pharmaceutical corporation." In a subsequent letter to the editor, John Blundell, did not deny that the campaign was funded by drug companies or Pfizer specifically only that corporate donations are not "tied to the production of particular papers, let alone the delivery of specific policy recommendations."
- Sir Colin Berry, Professor Emeritus of Pathology, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry
- Dr Amir Attaran, Royal Institute of International Affairs
- Professor William Keatinge, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry
- Professor Deepak Lal, Department of Economics, UCLA
- Colin Webb, Director, European Coalition of Positive People
- Professor Paul Reiter, Professor at the Institut Pasteur, Paris
- Professor The Lord McColl of Dulwich, CBE
- Dr John Kilama, President of Global Bioscience Development Institute
- Professor Lucas Bergkamp, Professor of Environmental Liability Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, & Partner at Hunton & Williams, Brussels
- Dr Philip Brown, Chairman of Council of the University of London School of Pharmacy
- Dr. Alphonse Crespo, a Swiss orthopaedic surgeon, Director of Research and member of the Board of Directors of the Institut Constant de Rebecque, Lausanne
- Dr. Henry I. Miller, founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology and Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at the Hoover Institution
The CFD was established by International Policy Network, in collaboration with the following Partner organisations:
- Action Research on Community Health, Gujarat, India
- AIDS Responsibility Project, San Francisco, USA
- European Coalition of Positive People, London, UK
- Fundacion DL, Bogota, Colombia
- The Global Bioscience Development Institute
- Inter Region Economic Network, Nairobi, Kenya
- Institute for Public Policy Analysis, Lagos, Nigeria
International Policy Network
3rd Floor, Bedford Chambers
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7836 0750
Fax: +44 (0)20 7836 0756
Email: info (AT) fightingdiseases.org
- Campaign to fight diseases of poverty launched in London, Campaign for Fighting Diseases, press release, June 18, 2004.
- International Policy Network, "Report and Financial Statements Year ended 31 December 2006", pages 6 & 17.
- International Policy Network, "About International Policy Network", International Policy Network website, accessed June 2008.
- Paul Staines, "You want policy? In cash?", The Times, December 20, 2005.
- John Blundell, "What price liberty?", The Times, December 23, 2005.