Access to Affordable Medicines and Pharmaceutical R&D in Latin America


Monday, April 23, 2018, 9:00am to 6:30pm


CGIS South, S030, 1730 Cambridge Street


Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries are undergoing an aging of their populations, which is accompanied by an increased burden of chronic conditions, and an increased demand for more complex and costly drugs. Most LAC countries fall into a middle-income category; at the same time, they are host to most of the poorest populations in the Americas. Policies that promote universal coverage of health services (UHC) are now under discussion and medicines are part of the debate. On the other side, LAC countries especially the public sector, are consumers of imported medicines, which implies that pharmaceutical trading has been growing steadily. An important partner in the growing trend is India and China. Finally, despite long-term investment in basic science and an increasing presence in the scientific peer-review literature, pharmaceutical R&D is still nascent in Latin America.

With experts from Harvard University, Boston University, the World Bank, the Pan-American Health Organization and others, the event will explore access to affordable medicines, availability of different types of drugs, especially generic, and the transformative policies needed to make progress on pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) in the LAC region.


9:00–9:10 am OPENING REMARKS

Brian D. Farrell Director, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies; Professor of Biology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.


9:10-10:30 am PANEL I

Access to Affordable Drugs on the Path to Universal Health Coverage


Chair: Dennis Ross-Degnan Associate Professor at the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Director of Research at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute



“Overview of Access to Affordable Medicines in Latin America”

Veronica Vargas Luksic Visiting Scholar 2017-18


“The Brazilian Experience in Pharmaceutical Policy: Achievements, Challenges, and Threats to Moving Toward Universal Health Care”

Dr. Adriano Massuda Research Fellow, Harvard Chan School of Public Health


“Approaches to Improving Access to Innovative Medicines”

Dr. Anita Wagner Associate Professor of Population Medicine; Co-Director, Center for Cancer Policy, Harvard Medical School


10:30–11:00 am COFFEE BREAK


11:00 am –12:30 pm PANEL II

Remapping Trade Exchange in Generics Medicines

Chair: Gabriela Soto Laveaga Professor of History of Science, Department of the History of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

“Promoting the Use of Generic Medicines – the Cases of Mexico and Chile “

Veronika Wirtz Associate Professor, Boston University


The Increasing Role of Asia in the Global Generic Pharmaceutical Industry”

Ramesh Govindaraj Lead Health Specialist, The World Bank


“Strengthening the Regulatory Capabilities in LAC”

Dr Analía Porrás Unit Chief, Medicines and Health Technologies, Pan American Health Organization


12:30–2:00 pm LUNCH


2:00–4:30 pm PANEL III

Current Development and Challenges of Pharmaceutical and Vaccines R&D in Latin America

Chair: Charles Berde Chief, Professor of Anaesthesia (Pediatrics), Harvard Medical School

“The Development of a Vaccine against the Respiratory Syncytial Virus”

Alexis Kalergis Professor at the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Director, Millennium Institute, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile


“The Experience of Benznidazole, to be Used in the Treatment of Chagas in Children”
Silvia Gold/Ignacio Demarco President, Foundation Mundo Sano, Argentina

“Zika Vaccine R&D in Brazil”
Carlos Gadelha Industrial Complex and Innovation Research Group, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil

“The Clinical Trials of an Anti-Lung Cancer Vaccine in the US”

Sergio Pastrana Cuban Academy of Science, Cuba


“Facilitating Partnership and Technology Transfer for R&D Initiatives”
Curtis T. Keith Chief Scientific Officer, Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, Harvard Office of Technology Development

“Practical Strategies for Increasing Access to Medicines and Promoting Innovation”
Quentin Palfrey Global Access in Action, Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University

4:30–5:00 pm COFFEE BREAK

5:00–5:45 pm CLOSING SESSION

Roundtable on Future Challenges and Opportunities

Chair:  Jing Luo,  Harvard Medical School, Program on Regulation, Therapeutics and Law (PORTAL) Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics


Muhammad Hamid Zaman, Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and International Health, Boston University

Yuly Fuentes Board Member Chile Massachusetts Alliance Team, Chile

Arturo Schweigner Director of Master in Health Economics. Isalud University, Argentina

Tatiana Andia Rey Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia

Ken Shadlen The London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom


Presented in collaboration with the International Health Systems Program, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

See also: Cambridge