1. Merith’s Background
Merith shared that she hails from Wales, UK and began her commitment to health equity nearly two decades ago working alongside young people living with type 1 diabetes in Ecuador. She co-founded the 100 Campaign
in 2012, an initiative aimed at reframing the narrative around insulin access as a human rights issue and reducing the barriers to access, and spent eight years as executive director of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM
) prior to joining P4AD.
“Growing up in the UK and being from that part of the world, we have a very different health care system – my family never had to think about paying for health care or paying a high price for medicine,” Merith said. “It wasn’t until many years later in my early twenties, living in Ecuador and working closely with the diabetes community, that I began to really witness and experience the injustice of people not being able to pay for the medicines they needed to survive… it really sparked my fight to push back on the power and greed of pharmaceutical corporations and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
2. The Inflation Reduction Act
Lisa and Merith discussed the historic drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act in detail – acknowledging this momentous win, explaining what’s in the new law, when it will be implemented, and the impact it will have on patients.
“This is a really big deal, and it wouldn’t have happened without patients. Everyone in this community should be proud,” Merith said of the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act. “This is a crack in the wall of pharmaceutical power – the prescription drug price reforms are truly, truly historic and they represent a monumental victory.”
A timeline of the implementation process as well as a breakdown of the provisions can be found at medicarenegotiation.org.
3. The Future of P4AD and Drug Pricing
Merith also outlined P4AD’s future goals, which includes implementation of the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act, patent reform, ensuring PBMs actually benefit patients, fair launch prices for new drugs, and expanding and diversifying our patient community.
“We will continue together to fight the power of pharmaceutical corporations and the entire system that has been rigged against patients,” Merith shared. “We want to make sure that patients are centered and that they’re not being taken advantage of – and a key part of that is continuing to build our patient community and diversify the people and communities who are joining us in the fight.”