Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation

We believe medicines must be priced fairly

Access to medicines is a fundamental human right. But high drug prices can be a serious obstacle to ensuring that right is met. We take on pharmaceutical companies who set unreasonably high prices for medicines and medical technologies, holding them to account for abusing their market position.

Our Mission: Access to medicines

The Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation serves the public interest by striving to ensure access to medicine. Medicines and medical technologies are made available in a socially responsible and sustainable manner. We attach a value to fair pricing and distribution in accordance with European and international legal standards, and therefore take action to combat unjustifiable price gouging by companies abusing market monopolies. We seek to achieve our objectives through the provision of advice and information to governments, stakeholders professionals and the general public. If that does not help, we achieve our objectives through the possible legal action around excessively high priced medicines. Our Articles of Association (in Dutch) can be found here [pdf].

See here for our committee of recommendation.

Our History

The Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation was created in July 2018 in response to unethical gaming of the pharmaceutical incentive system that betrays the public trust, harms patients and prevents access to medicines.

Our first case was the complaint against pharmaceutical company Leadiant in September 2018. This company was granted exclusive rights to market an old medicine called CDCA as a treatment for a rare metabolic illness, cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX), and promptly increased its price 500-fold. CDCA had been on the market since 1976 as a gallstone treatment, and had since 1999 been prescribed off label to treat CTX at a cost of € 0.28 per capsule or € 308 per treatment-year in the Netherlands. After Leadiant obtained exclusive marketing rights, it increased CDCA’s price to € 140 per capsule or € 153,300 per treatment-year, imposing a crippling new price on CTX patients. The company had also bought and removed less expensive versions of this medicine from the EU market, so that CTX sufferers would be completely dependent on their over-priced version. Unfortunately, this kind of behaviour is not isolated.

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly taking advantage of regulations intended to incentivise the creation of new, needed medicines in the public interest to instead ratchet up prices to levels that keep those medicines out of reach. And often this is done without any new innovation at all – as was the case with CDCA, a medicine which had been in use to treat CTX for two decades before Leadiant’s price hike.

The Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation has been taking action against Leadiant – and will take action against other companies that similarly abuse their exclusivity rights.

Committee of Recommendation

Our Committee of Recommendation exists of inspiring people and (academic) experts affiliated with the field of (access to) medicines and healthcare.

Em. Prof. Dr. André Knottnerus

Member Committee of Recommendation

André Knottnerus is a physician epidemiologist, former chair of the Health Council, and emeritus professor of family medicine at Maastricht University. He publishes regularly on the need to treat essential medicines and vaccines as global public goods.

Prisca Zwanikken, MD, M.Sc.CH, PhD

Member Committee of Recommendation

Prisca is a senior public health expert, involved n capacity building of higher education and training institutions in low and middle income countries. She’s been a member of HAI for years and has also been involved in teaching in Rational Drug use.

Prof. Gerrit van der Wal, MD, PhD

Member Committee of Recommendation

Gerrit van der Wal is advisor and supervisor health care, former GP, emeritus professor of public health and former Inspector-General/CMO Netherlands.

Prof. Dr. Pim van Gool

Member Committee of Recommendation

Pim van Gool is professor of Neurology at Public and Occupational Health Amsterdam UMC and former chair of the Health Council of the Netherlands. "In my roles both as a clinician, as well as in various advisory roles at national and European levels, I have noticed the detrimental effects of pricing strategies for medicines and medical technologies, that are counterproductive for equal access to health care and medicines. The Foundation clearly acts in the public interest. That is why I wholeheartedly endorse the goal."

Em. Prof. dr. F.M. Haaijer-Ruskamp

Member Committee of Recommendation

Expertise on rational prescribing and drug use, with attention to both individual (e.g., decisions) and macro-level influences, such as policy, price, and pharma industry.

Gilles de Wildt

Member Committee of Recommendation

Gilles de Wildt is Associate Clinical Professor Global Health at University of Birmingham (UK) and General Practitioner (Primary care Physician).

Chris Oomen

Member Committee of Recommendation

Chris Oomen is entrepeneur, pharmacist and former chair of the board of DSW health insurance organisation.

Our Governance and Advisory Boards

The governance of the Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation consists of a Governance Board and an Expert Advisory Board.

Governance Board

Wilbert Bannenberg

Chairperson

Wilbert is a physician and public health consultant, with over 35 years of experience in improving pharmaceutical systems in developing countries.

Sabina Voogd

Board Member

Business Owner 3 Star Lobby: Coaching and Training on Lobby. Until May 2021: Lobbying for fair access to Covid-19 vaccines and C-TAP for Wemos.

Expert Advisory Board

Hans Smits

Treasurer

Hans has been working on board level in the automotive industries for over 30 years. Now that he has retired, he is dedicating his time to a healthier world.

Tegan Insoll

Secretary

Tegan is a human rights lawyer (LL.M.) with a focus on global health and children's rights. She is a Project Researcher for Protect Children (Suojellaan Lapsia).

Prof. Dr. Brigit Toebes

Chairperson of the Advisory Board

Brigit is Professor of Health Law in International Perspective, University of Groningen.

Tom Buis Msc

Advisory Board Member

As a global health advocate at Wemos, As a global health advocate, Tom focuses on advocacy to strengthen health systems worldwide and to ensure that medicines are affordable.

Richard van Slobbe

Advisory Board Member

Richard is a Dutch registered public pharmacist specialist.

Ella Weggen

Advisory Board Member

As a lawyer and senior global health advocate, Ella focuses on the realisation of equitable access to affordable medicines and other medical technologies worldwide.

Dr. Ellen ’t Hoen, LL.M.

Advisory Board Member

Ellen is a lawyer and public health advocate, and the director of Medicines Law & Policy.

Dr. Jennifer Sellin

Advisory Board Member

Jennifer is Assistant Professor of International and European law at the University of Maastricht.

Katrina Perehudoff

Advisory Board Member

Katrina is a health scientist and legal scholar with over a decade of experience in pharmaceutical policy, with a specialisation on access to medicines.

Anna Laskai

Advisory Board Member

Anna is a criminologist and assistant professor at the University of Utrecht. Her research interests lie within the field of white collar, corporate crime, and organizational criminology.

Staff

Emily Dowdalls, MSc

Project coördinator

Emily is a non-practicing pharmacist and a trained community organizer with experience in the climate movement. She has dedicated her time to (climate) justice in healthcare.

Rosalind Turkie, LLM

GCCP Coördinator

Rosalind is a human rights lawyer (LL.M.) with a background in languages. Her current focus is on promoting access to medicines through the right to health. She has also conducted research on using human rights to promote healthier and more sustainable food systems.

Partners & Resources

There are many organisations aside from Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation doing important work and creating valuable resources to further the capacity of governments and others to ensure that all benefit from the universal right to health. Some we work closely with (our partners), and others are those we find to be valuable sources of reliable, expert information. Links to these organisations are below.

Partners

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Resources

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