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MSF's wish list for 2021

© Illustrations by Vivian Peng
Opinions and debates 

    Another World Is Possible in 2021 - in 5 Wishes!

    Over the past extraordinary year, we were all touched by one of the greatest global health emergencies in decades. 

    We are indeed now "all in this together"—and we need to work together to find solutions. We must develop and share the fruits of scientific progress in a fair and effective way to tame the COVID-19 pandemic. The lessons we learn will also enable us to overcome other diseases that blight the lives of millions of people around the world.

    MSF will continue to call for better ways to answer urgent health needs. We will continue to call for change that puts people over profit. We hope that you will join us. 

    Here are five wishes we have for the New Year to help build a new and fairer world where people can access the lifesaving medicines they need, wherever they live.

    WISH #1: Everyone enjoys the fruits of scientific progress

    Today nearly two billion people don’t have access to the medicines they need to stay well and healthy. A major reason is the high price of medicines. We need a world where medicines are developed with the primary aim of meeting people’s health needs, wherever they live, and not just to make the most profit!

    WISH #2: Everyone shares knowledge for the common benefit 

    Today pharmaceutical companies and other institutions lock up their knowledge and don’t allow others to use their data and know how. This wastes opportunities for transferring knowledge to companies around the world to make these products more affordably. We need a world where data and science are shared openly to enable affordable production and meet local needs.

    WISH #3: Everyone is open about the true costs of new medicines

    Pharmaceutical companies try to justify the high cost of medicines because of the amount they say they have to invest in developing a drug. However, they don’t open the books to disclose actual amounts spent and we know many companies spend more on marketing their products than developing them.  

    We need a world where companies are transparent about their actual costs and investments so we can reach a decision on fair prices for medicines.

    WISH #4: Everyone attaches strings to research funding

    Billions of dollars of public and private funding are poured into the development of new medicines every year. But the money doesn’t come with any conditions attached to ensure that the final products - medicines or vaccines or medical devices - reach everyone in need.

    We need a world where funding for the development of medicines comes with strings attached to ensure fair access for everyone.

    WISH #5: Everyone works together to solve problems

    Today decisions about people’s health around the world are largely made by a small group of people in rich countries. We need to bring everyone to the table to solve global problems – including the governments of affected countries, civil society in those countries and the people affected themselves. We need a world where people are involved in decisions about their own health needs and provision – including the development of new medicines and vaccines.


    …just 5 simple wishes!