On a less than typical day in October, Health Action International, in partnership with Wemos and Medicines Law & Policy, hosted the Great Health Hack—a Diplohack bringing together people from various backgrounds to find solutions to increase the uptake of intellectual property (IP) management tools to improve access to medicines.

Expertly moderated by Dr Linden Jensen-Page, the full-day event more than lived-up to expectations by attracting participants from fields as varied as the legal profession and software development, plus some students and academics from a number of countries to complete the mix. But 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.

We were delighted to have onboard Dr Ellen ’t Hoen, Director of Medicines Law & Policy and leading global expert in access to medicines and IP rights, who gave a Masterclass in the use of IP management tools and the history of TRIPS flexibilities. Dr ’t Hoen’s presentation was met with interest and enthusiasm, particularly among those participants who came from outside of the usual access to medicines circles—the content served to inspire participants to seek a solution to this critical issue and gave them ‘food for thought’ for the brainstorming sessions that were to come.

After five hours of intense discussion, learning and brainstorming, our teams put their ideas to a judging panel made up of Dr Ellen ’t Hoen, Dr Tim Reed (HAI Executive Director) and Mark Studholme (tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Crowdy House), who chose a fantastic and worthy winner. The prize being to actually implement the idea in 2021. So, as they say, WATCH THIS SPACE!  

Watch the video below for an impression of the day and its outcomes!