Renewed pledge commits medicines to most needy

The University has reinforced its commitment to making life-saving medicines more readily available to people in lesser developed countries.


Its licensing procedures have been revised in light of Covid-19, which has thrown into sharp focus the differing levels of access to drugs across the world.

Any new approvals of Edinburgh-led research for commercial purposes will aim to increase the availability of affordable medicines in poorer countries.

Greatest need

The key objective is to ensure that the benefits of Edinburgh’s medical innovation can be more easily accessed by those in greatest need.

This will be achieved through practices such as avoiding monopolies by issuing non-exclusive licences in low and middle income countries.

The University is among the first universities in Britain to adopt a humanitarian agenda for the licensing of its medical research.

We are living through a critical time for global public health. Now more than ever, there is an obligation on world-leading institutions such as the University of Edinburgh to ensure that the benefits reaped from our outstanding medical research are widely available to all, especially the most vulnerable. I am proud of our renewed commitment to this goal, especially in this time of pandemic.

Professor Jonathan Seckl Senior Vice-Principal


Avoidable deaths

Nearly one in three people globally have no access to the basic medicines they need, according to the World Health Organisation.

Ten million children die each year for want of affordable and effective drugs.

The original statement was drafted in 2016 in collaboration with the Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) campaign.

This latest update to Edinburgh’s Essential Medicines Position Statement was passed by the University’s Executive in December 2020.

I'm proud to see my University and a leading research institute, such as the University of Edinburgh, commit to a renewed essential medicines policy, especially when the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of collaboration and open access research. This represents an important turning point in the UAEM fight for universal access to medicines and we are so proud of the efforts made by everyone involved.

Emma SharlandUniversity representative for UAEM and final year medical student

Related links

Updated Essential Medicines Position Statement


Photo credit: Myriam Zilles on Unsplash