In Autumn 2020, we promised we’d update you on the realisation of the winning idea of the Great Health Hack. But first a quick reminder of where we left off.
The Great Health Hack was an idea born to bring people from various backgrounds and disciplines together to find solutions to facilitate and increase the uptake of intellectual property (IP) management tools to improve access to medicines. Working with partners at Wemos and Medicines Law & Policy, we gathered participants from fields as varied as the legal profession, economists and software development, plus some students and academics based around Europe to complete the mix. This was what the day was all about—seeing what new ideas people from outside the usual access to medicines circles may bring to the table when teamed up with experts from the field.
The day generated a lot of input and insight, but three excellent ideas got the attention of our panel of judges:
- An innovative platform targeting multi-disciplinary students and researchers. An introduction to the A2M issues, and the tools at hand, provide a stage to showcase the ways in which legal and administrative instruments have been successfully implemented in the past. Facilitate discussion groups (matchmaking) with innovators, policymakers, health and pharmacy professionals, in turn creating a space for exchange, learning and debate.
- Raising public awareness of the issues and possible interventions and solutions through social media marketing campaigns that engages influencers to spread the message (inspired on some social policy initiatives spurred by select individuals). The aim of the campaign would be to put pressure on governments to utilise, or make more extensive use, of TRIPS Flexibilities.
- Creation of an updatable, living database to facilitate the use of TRIPS flexibilities, in conjunction with an awareness campaign to increase uptake and use. The database and associated dashboard could facilitate decision making and inform governments by gathering practical information and step-by-step instructions on, for instance, from where they could import their generic pharmaceutical products.
After nearly 30 minutes of deliberation, the judges decided on a winner.
The idea selected by our expert panel of judges was the creation of a database to help inform the decision-making process around TRIPS flexibilities!
An idea becomes reality
Now, seven months on, the work to make this idea a reality has begun in earnest! We have teamed up with Prism.bio, who will use their expertise and experience in bringing clarity through visualization of clinical trial data to creating an information clearing house for evidence-based decision making that improves access to medicines. There is still a lot of work to do, including sifting through databases on use of TRIPS flexibilities, as well as the regulatory and legislative frameworks in which our target audience must operate.
But, if all goes to plan, we will be launching the first iteration of the website to coincide with the first anniversary of the Great Health Hack! From there on, we will be looking for others to collaborate to achieve the full potential of the idea, crowdsourcing the most up to date information and developing a living webpage that can make a real difference to medicine policy in Europe and beyond. This project started as a collective endeavour and it will be through shared effort that it will become a usable and actionable tool.
In the meantime, do not hesitate to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about getting involved with this project,