“I think we need to move away from nationalistic models. We are a global society” – with these words, UCL’s David Taylor set the tone for today’s panel discussion “Health & Health Care in India: National Opportunities, Global Impacts”. Hosted by EFPIA , the panel brought together different stakeholders to discuss the challenges – and possible paths forward – for India’s healthcare sector. Taylor, Professor of Practice & Policy at University College London’s School of Pharmacy and Faculty of Life Sciences, was joined by Petra Keil, Head of Global Public Policy Novartis, and MSF’s Helle Aagaard, EU Policy and Advocacy Advisor in a panel discussion, followed by an open Q&A session.

There has been progress in improving life expectancy and reducing child mortality , but the challenges in improving healthcare in India have deep cultural and social roots.  It is in this context that current debates about IP and access should be understood. summarizing his views, Professor Taylor suggested that the right to life was fundamental, but it was not in opposition to the exercise of intellectual property rights.

Following Taylor, Keil also stressed the complexities of the issue and likewise pointed to the need to protect incentives for innovation, while simultaneously ensuring accessibility of medicines.  Keil’s emphasis was on the practical realities of delivering healthcare in resource-poor environments. “The problems are too complex for any one individual to solve…” she agreed. Keil also stressed the importance of contextualizing global health solutions, whether in India or elsewhere, as she noted “We need to capacity build and to provide tailor-made solutions.” Pointing to the long history of MSF in addressing global health issues, Aagaard agreed that “healthcare reform is a long process that requires experimentation and innovation based on the experiences in one’s own country. MSF believe that there are fundamental flaws in the R&D  and pricing model that need to be resolved if we are to create  a sustainable solution to access. 

Despite differing opinions on topics such as pricing models, the three panelists were in agreement that collaboration – and open discussion like the one held today – are the only way forward to enhance healthcare. Taylor stressed a “future-oriented” approach, and his words left no doubt that improving healthcare solutions in countries like India are global health goals that require globally minded solutions: “Can we all get through to that safe place, where we all live long and prosper? That's the challenge for us now as a global society.” 

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