Pharma’s Other Futures: Alternatives to Unaffordable Medicines

Commons Network is proud to invite you all to a special event in Amsterdam about the new ideas that we have to tackle the rising prices of medicines.

Drug prices are getting more and more expensive and governments don’t know what to do. Big Pharma uses disease as a business model and has been really effective in turning an already profitable business into a gold mine. What exactly is going on and what can we do about it?

Commons Network, together with our partner Wemos and famous debate venue De Rode Hoed, are proud to present Pharma’s Other Futures, an evening full of inspiring visions and ideas that show that a future with affordable medicines for all is possible.

Policy makers do not seem to succeed in finding a long-term solution for the ever-rising costs of medicines. There does not seem to be a viable system, other than the current one. There Is No Alternative, we hear them say. But is there really no alternative? Can we imagine a different system? What can we do and what should Europe do?

With the European elections just a few weeks away, we see new opportunities. We especially see opportunities around democratisation of the entire process and public ownership of knowledge. Together with stakeholders like patients, pharmacists, insurers, doctors, politicians, pharmaceutical companies and the audience we will investigate radical solutions, new ideas and real alternatives.


Commons Network’s Sophie Bloemen and Wemos’ Senior advocate Ella Weggen will be there to set the scene and explain the need to talk about visions and alternatives in the current European context. Want to learn more? Read up on our work in this field here (the research/policy paper on Biomedical Knowledge as a Commons) or here (the manifesto for the European elections with the access to medicines coalition).

We start the night with a talk by Lucien Hordijk, a sort of big pharma for dummies, in which he exposes the powers at play.

After that, Robin Kok (a CF-patient), Carla Hollak (professor Metabolic Diseases at UMC Amsterdam) and Rob Henning (professor Pharmacology at Groningen University) discuss alternatives.

After the break, we ask a panel of politicians and experts to respond to these cases. The panel features guests like Paul Tang(Member of EU Parliament for Labour in The Netherlands), Arnout Hoekstra (frontrunning candidate for the European Parliament for the Dutch Socialist Party) and Pia Dijkstra (Member of Parliament for the Liberal Democrats in The Netherlands).

This evening will be moderated by Sophie Derkzen and hosted by Commons Network, Wemos and the Rode Hoed.


Pharma’s Other Futures, a public evening about unaffordable medicines and what we can do about it

Where? De Rode Hoed, a historic debate venue in the old center of Amsterdam. Address: De Rode Hoed, Keizersgracht 102, Amsterdam

When? Thursday the 16th of May, at 8pm

Tickets? Visit the website of the venue here for more details.

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