People of Faith for Access to Medicines (PFAM) will inspire, organize, and nurture a faith-based movement to make access to essential medicines a moral imperative and a fully-realized human right. PFAM builds on the foundation established by faith-based organizations playing a central role in U.S. health care, culture, and politics, the strengths of the existing access to medicines movement, and the historic legacy of faith communities making essential contributions to social movements.
PFAM conducts outreach, education, and organizing at both the levels of individual congregations and at the highest levels of faith denominations. We publish regular articles in media ranging from the New York Times to congregation newsletters on access to medicines and the faith community’s role in social movements, we work with local congregations and communities as they reach out to their elected officials, and we provide guidance and support to faith organizations and leaders who want to speak out on medicines access issues.
In venues ranging from coffee hours in church basements to polished boardrooms to social media, PFAM is mobilizing people of faith to assert a morally-charged case for access to medicines.
Why PFAM Is So Passionate About Access to Medicines
Across the U.S. and the world, patients and their families are in desperate need for reform of our current medicines system. For many, access to medicines is quite literally a life-or-death issue.
Skyrocketing medicine prices force too many people to choose between putting food on their tables and filling their prescriptions. Too many U.S. seniors cut their pills in half to stretch their supply, and one of every five Americans cannot fill their increasingly expensive prescriptions. And too many U.S. taxpayers feel the pain of state and federal budgets sagging under the weight of medicine costs.
The medicines crisis in the U.S. is bad enough, but the suffering is even worse for many of our brothers and sisters across the globe. An estimated 10 million people die each year--a number greater than the entire population of New York City—because they cannot afford the medicines that would save them.
A Timely Opportunity to Make a Change
There are proven solutions to the current medicines crisis, all built on the historic legacy of access to medicines as a moral imperative. Those solutions capitalize on the fact that U.S. taxpayers are already the key supporters of the most critical medicines research. The existing access to medicines movement working to promote these solutions has significant strengths: several organizations possess deep levels of expertise about the often complex world of medicine development, many organizations possess global health credibility, and all are passionately committed to the cause.
There is deep and widespread frustration with the price and accessibility of essential medicines, with large majorities of Americans reporting anger about drug prices and strong desire for reform. This popular U.S. support for change is important, as the U.S. government is the undisputed global leader in creating and promoting the current broken medicines policies.
Why a U.S.-Focused Faith-Based Access to Medicines Movement
Faith communities play a central role in providing health care, both in the U.S. and globally. Faith communities play a central role in the culture and politics of communities across the U.S. and across the globe. And faith communities have played central roles in the successful social movements of the last century, including the U.S. civil rights movement, the anti-apartheid movement, and the anti-colonial movement.
All major faith-based organizations embrace social justice and equity as core to their missions, and many pursue those missions with a focus on health care. The U.S. government’s central role in promoting the current broken medicines system means that the U.S. needs to be the focus of a grassroots reform movement. Fortunately, this country’s faith communities are ripe for organizing around the movement to ensure access essential medicines for all.