Secrets Cost Lives: Transparency and access to medical products

As an international medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has repeatedly witnessed how the world’s most vulnerable people are left without access to the lifesaving medicines, diagnostics tests and vaccines they need. Ensuring access to these medical products requires access to information throughout their life cycle, from the R&D stages to when they are brought to market. But this information has been systematically hidden from public view by the biomedical industry.  

This report looks at 10 areas—seven specific areas in the product development, supply and procurement processes, and three cross-cutting areas—to discuss what information is hidden and how, and its consequences for access. It makes recommendations to governments, global health institutions, civil society organisations and other actors to better hold corporations to account and foster greater transparency in order to help ensure equitable access to medical products and ultimately save more lives.

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