Communities struggle to gain a seat at the table when it comes to trade-related negotiations – particularly with the pharmaceutical industry. This is why mechanisms like community advisory boards (CABs) are critical to ensuring civil society can productively engage in the conversation
CABs are a formalized mechanism used to promote community and civil society engagement and representation in clinical trials and drug development dialogues with pharmaceutical companies. The goal of CABs are to:
- Ensure that community views are heard at national, regional, and global level by organizing direct dialogues and negotiations – often referred to as CAB Meetings – with originators, generic pharmaceutical companies, public health institutions, and clinical researchers working on access to medicines.
- Empower community activists to work in this space through capacity development and training
In 2014, ITPC joined together with other civil society organizations to address American drug company Gilead’s access and pricing policies at the first World Hepatitis C CAB organized in Bangkok. ITPC issued global and regional press releases to denounce restrictions and shortages of the voluntary license signed between Gilead and Indian generic produces and engaged in advocacy with Indian generic producers to preserve independent suppliers from Gilead to ensure generic drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients can be available in countries excluded from the licensed territory.
In 2018, we established two new CABs in LATCA and MENA – two regions that continue to be neglected by the pharmaceutical industry. With on-going support, ITPCru also continued to host the ECAT (formerly known as the EECA CAB) to facilitate dialogue between community activists, advocates and pharmaceutical industry, and build capacity of activists in advocacy and give them the opportunity to meet with senior management of drug companies. The coordination of these regional CABs is lead up to the upcoming World CAB. Following in the footsteps of the last World CAB hosted by ITPC in New Delhi in 2008, the 2018 World CAB will review progress and challenges over the last ten years and outline next steps for addressing treatment access issues globally. Outcomes and lessons learned from these on-going CABs will be broadcasted via a knowledge-sharing platform where community activists can connect and access resources.