Basey Has Devoted Her Career To Ensuring That Life-saving Medications Are Affordable And Accessible For All Who Need Them
Merith Basey, MSc, has been named executive director of the bipartisan advocacy organization, Patients For Affordable Drugs and its sister organization Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. Basey arrives at a key moment when sweeping reforms to the U.S. drug price system are being implemented and advocates are turning to other key policies that require improvement to ensure patients and all Americans can afford the drugs they need.
“I believe that no one should be poor because they are sick or be sick because they are poor,” Basey said. “This new position enables me to continue my lifelong work in support of that long held belief.”
“There is no doubt that the landmark drug price provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act will help improve the lives of millions of Americans. Ensuring both the effective and timely implementation of the law will, of course, be critical,” continued Basey. “Looking forward, there are other key areas of the drug price system that must be tackled: patent reform, ensuring PBMs actually benefit patients, and fair launch prices for new drugs. Cell and gene therapies are coming to market with price tags as high as $2.8 million. Many more therapies of this type are in the pipeline for diseases like sickle-cell anemia, and exorbitant prices will be barriers to access for communities that need them the most.”
Basey was selected after an extensive months-long search process. Her commitment to health equity began nearly two decades ago working alongside young people living with type 1 diabetes in Ecuador. Her formative grassroots organizing combined with a master’s degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine motivated her to co-found the 100 Campaign in 2012, aimed at reframing the narrative around insulin access as a human rights issue and reducing the barriers to access.
“We are very pleased to have Merith step into this role to lead an extremely talented team of professionals who have already shown how to organize and mobilize patients to stand up, tell their stories, and demand change,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder and president of Patients For Affordable Drugs. “Merith brings extensive knowledge and skill in movement building, advocacy, prescription drug development and policy, and not-for-profit management, along with strong academic preparation. She is a great fit for our organization and will add fresh perspectives that will strengthen us for the future.”
Most recently, Basey has spent eight years as executive director of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), an international, student-driven organization that seeks to improve access to and affordability of life-saving medicines researched and developed at universities. In March 2020, she launched the Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign via UAEM and, in conjunction with the Center for Artistic Activism, advocated that COVID tests, treatments, and vaccines be sustainably priced, available to all, and free at the point of delivery.
Patients For Affordable Drugs is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. It is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on policy changes to lower prescription drug prices. Patients For Affordable Drugs Now is a not-for-profit 501(c)(4) organization focused on advancing policies to lower drug prices. Both are independent and bipartisan and neither accepts funding from any organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs.