Drug Development for Essential Medicines


Spring 2021

M, 7:10-8:30pm, location TBA

A critical topic in global health is the availability and accessibility of medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, and similar medical products in the developing world. Yet, COVID-19 has once again highlighted the systematic gaps, failures, and inequalities that impinge upon individuals’ ability to access essential health technologies worldwide. Accordingly, in this course, we will aim to untangle the complex interactions between law, economics, policy, and medicine that govern the access to medicines debate. This course will provide a substantial overview of the fundamentals of intellectual property rights, the pharmaceutical development process, and drug pricing, and will examine effective strategies that have been used to increase access to essential medicines in developing countries. Within these fields, the course will introduce key stakeholders in global health, and will address underlying ethical issues that have permeated the drug development landscape since its inception. Ultimately, the course will support students in developing an understanding of and enthusiasm for the complex incentive structures underlying access to medicines - a topic which is normally inaccessible to many undergraduates - and help them contextualize key challenges in product development underlined by COVID-19. Such a multidisciplinary approach will expand students’ perceptions of global health and emphasize opportunities for non-medically related fields to impact global health. No prior experience in global health or biomedical science is necessary. The course will cover the basics to acquaint students with key concepts in both of these fields.

  • Defne Z. Yorgancioglu, defne.yorgancioglu@duke.edu
  • Pratamesh Ramasubramanian, pratamesh.ramasubramanian@duke.edu
  • Gavin Yamey, Global Health
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