The health system as a common good and the fight against big pharma in the world

Commons WG Webinar

Andrey Popov /

The common goods’ point of view seems to us to be a particularly useful and profitable point of view for understanding the crisis of the pandemic, both on the health and on the economic and social aspect.


This also, and above all, to define the answers to get out of this crisis, identifying the forms of a new economic and social model.

The first element that appears decisive is undoubtedly the health system. The role of the public in addressing the crisis is a fact acquired for both the general public opinion and for the economic and political elites themselves, but only through the role of democratic control of health as a common good, it is possible to prevent a return of the logic of market that have brought us to this point, with decades of cuts in healthcare spending and with a privatization process that has demonstrated weakness in dealing with the situation.

After decades of TINA (there is not alternative) in which the collective interest was denied, the pandemic offers us the opportunity to question this mantra and impose political choices in favor of the well-being of citizens and communities.

Starting from the point of view of common goods also means including the terrain of social conflict, without which no result is possible. Every social conquest is the result of the mobilization and fight, the conception of common goods must be able to include and promote this aspect, in order to advance the change in the current economic paradigm.

Another dimension that we intend to focus on is the dimension of the crisis of globalism that the pandemic highlights. The only antidote to xenophobic and reactionary nationalism that this crisis could be promoted in each country, is an international response of solidarity and satisfaction of the needs and interests of people at the expense of the interests of multinationals and finance, reinforcing the democratic participation and “using” the solidarity experience we have seen during the crisis.

For this reason, we plan to promote, in cooperation with AEPF, Asia Europe People’s Forum,  three events that focus on decisive aspects.



Professor Dinesh Abrol continues to serve since 1988 as the convenor of National Working Group on Patent Laws, a civil society platform that played a central role in the development of post-TRIPS patent law, in India. He has held positions of Chief Scientist CSIR-NISTADS (National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS), a constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the premier national research council, Professor in Institute of Studies in Industrial Development, Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP), Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, member Patents and Compulsory Licensing Committee and Sectoral Innovation Council of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOH&FW). He carries behind him forty years of experience of research, consultancy and advice in the areas of Innovation System, Science, Technology and Society & S&T policy.

Doctor Vittorio Agnoletto, specializing in occupational medicine, teaches “Globalization and Health Policies” at the University of Milan, he works as an Occupational Physician on disability commissions, collaborates with the Italian Association Libera in the international sector. Member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, he was the GSF spokesman during the 2001 G8 in Genoa. It broadcasts “37 and 2” on the right to health to Radio Popolare. He is a former European parliamentarian, founder of the Italian League for the Fight against AIDS (LILA) and member of the National AIDS Commission. He is the author of various essays and numerous national and international scientific publications.

Armando De Negri Filho, Epidemiologist and Coordinator of the Executive Committee of the World Social Forum on Health and Social Security, Brazil. In addition to being an advisory group member, Armando De Negri Filho is  collaborating with UNRISD for the project Towards Universal Social Security in Emerging Economies. He is an epidemiologist and coordinator of the executive committee of the World Social Forum on Health and Social Security. He spoke at the UNRISD-FORUM ASIA panel discussion in September 2012 on the role of social security in promoting human rights.


Francine Mestrum has a PhD in social sciences. Her research concerns social development, poverty, inequality, globalization and gender relations. She is co-ordinator of Global Social Justice and represents CETRI (Centre Tricontinental) in the International Council of the World Social Forum. She is now involved with the AEPF (Asian European People Forum) in strengthening relations between civil in strengthening relations between civil society organizations on both continents.