Through its policies, legislation and bilateral and regional trade agreements, the European Union (EU) has a major impact on access to medicines for developing countries. The European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases aims to ensure that the EU adopts appropriate measures that improve access to existing medical tools (medicines, diagnostics, vaccines) and stimulate the research and development (R&D) of urgently-needed better tools for people in developing countries, notably for poverty-related diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The Working Group provides a forum for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the European Commission, southern partners and civil society to discuss the need for innovation, access to medicines and quality health care and ensure that European policies deliver a coherent, comprehensive and pro-active response to address these issues.
The Working Group operates as a Bureau of MEPs, with one Chair (Glenis Willmott - S&D) and three Co-Chairs (Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea– ALDE, Kateřina Konečná - GUE and Judith Sargentini - Greens/EFA).
The Secretariat of the group is formed by Médecins Sans Frontières’ Access Campaign and GHA.
Four years after its creation in 2009, the Working Group encompasses about 300 members, ranging from MEPs to Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Members of Parliament and diplomats, academics, representatives from the European Institutions, international organisations and civil society. Since its inception, the Working Group has organised a series of events and field visits, gathering high-level expertise on a range of priority dossiers.