Novo Nordisk is the Official Partner of Copenhagen Competition 2010 on Access to Medicines

From 13 - 15 October law students from 15 universities around the world met in Copenhagen to tackle the dilemma between access to medicines and patent regulations in low and middle income countries. A daunting task but one that health organisations, governments and Novo Nordisk see as critical to providing safe, effective and affordable medicines for all.

The 2010 Copenhagen Competition, an international negotiation competition for law students, took up a purely hypothetical mandate issued jointly by the World Health Assembly, the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the General Council of the WCO Council World Trade Organization, and the World Customs Organization Council, for a Joint Negotiating Committee to draft a Protocol on Trade in Pharmaceuticals.

Throughout the competition, student teams presented and debated policies to create well-regulated international trade in pharmaceuticals. Teams worked to find a balance between concerns that excessive intellectual property rights (IP) enforcement can impede access to legitimate medicines, and the major health risks that arise from the distribution of fake medicines. Many of the negotiations revolved around ensuring that overly excessive IP enforcement doesn't lead to unaffordable medicines.

The need to strengthen health care systems

To support the dialogue, Lene Andersen, Vice President of Global Health Partnerships in Novo Nordisk, joined the roundtable discussion together with NGO's and academia to share Novo Nordisk's position and progress on ensuring access to medicines.

"Novo Nordisk is pleased to support the 2010 Copenhagen Competition," said Novo Nordisk Global Health Partnerships Vice President Lene Andersen. "For access to medicine to improve, mutual agreement and understanding on IP and trade issues is important."

"Looking beyond the Copenhagen Competition, there is a need to recognize that affordability of medicines is not the only barrier to access to health. Strengthening health care systems is equally important," said Novo Nordisk Global Health Partnerships Vice President Lene Andersen. "In developing countries, securing access to medicine is also about securing access to qualified personnel, training of patients and their communities, responsible Governments that secure budget to development of their health care work force and to treatment and care. That's what we call health systems strengthening."

In the end, judges selected the Hebrew University of Jerusalem team as the 2010 winners. The Copenhagen Competition is the Copenhagen University Faculty of Law's annual negotiation game in which law students from around the world negotiate current social issues.

Read more about the Copenhagen Competition here