What is BUKO Pharma-Kampagne?



Sep 12, 2017

Foto: C. Steifer, privat

SPCs endanger access to medicines


Recently a major application for our new project was dismissed. It would have secured our labour for the oncoming three years. Hence, our activities in 2018 are endangered.
Do you consider our independent scrutiny of global health care policy important? Do you appreciate our critical voice in the struggle for access to essential medicines all over the world?

Please support our labour by becoming a donator or a sponsoring member or – if you are able to read German – by subscribing to our Pharma-Brief. Of course you can make an online donation as well.

Our entire team would like to thank you cordially in advance.




BUKO Pharma-Kampagne was founded with the aim of examining the activities of the German pharmaceutical industry in Third World countries. We want to implement changes by taking  special actions and informing the public in detail. Pharma-Kampagne is a campaigning group of the Bundeskoordination Internationalismus (BUKO) (Federal Coordination of Internationalism) uniting 130 German action and solidarity groups working in favour of the Third World. 

More than 30 years ago, BUKO Pharma-Kampagne started to pay attention to the theme "Drugs and the Third World ". Today it is one of the few organisations in Germany that has a critical look at the dark side of the drug market in the North and in the South. Its commitment protects patients and consumers. BUKO Pharma-Kampagne supports the human right to healthy living conditions. Therefore it discusses also the negative repercussions of economic globalisation. We work closely with health and consumer groups all over the world. In collaboration with the international health network Health Action International (HAI) we managed to reveal many risks to health resulting in major improvements to healthcare policy in recent years.

How does BUKO Pharma-Kampagne work?
BUKO Pharma-Kampagne observes the marketing practices of German drug companies in the Third World and in Germany. For not all drugs are useful. We examine what is rational and what is essential, and criticise the sale of dangerous and useless drugs. We do our best that all people get access to vital drugs. We are against advertising, sponsoring and public relations misleading and influencing consumers and medical practitioners. We also draw people’s attention to the fact that drugs are important but that they do not change unhealthy conditions: For poverty makes sick. We carry out research and make scientific studies. With our intense public relations work we try to define healthcare policies.

Antibiotic resistance – a man-made problem 
Antibiotic resistance is a man-made problem because it is the result of the careless use of medication. Incorrect applications, inappropriate and over-prescription have caused the problems to escalate worldwide. Massive advertising campaigns on the part of the pharmaceutical industry have made a major contribution to this, as well as weak state structures that allow the sale of antibiotics over the counter and thus further promote incorrect use. The G7 states have the problem of antibiotic resistance on their political agenda and while releasing more money for new effective substances is important, it is not sufficient. Read the full article

Antibiotic resistance: a global challenge

Antibiotics have been a blessing for medicine. Their discovery meant that infections which had previously caused great suffering and many deaths could now be treated. But the situation is changing dramatically, with ever more bacteria becoming resistant to an increasing number of active agents used in antibiotics. Each year tens of thousands of people die worldwide as a result of multi-resistant microbes. And resistance does not stop at national borders: it develops anywhere and can spread anywhere.
This is why any attempts to resolve the problem of resistance must be as global as its causes. The slogan 'One Health' must be understood in the broadest terms: the Global North and Global South, human and veterinary medicine, and both social components and technical solutions must be taken into consideration.

Download brochure: Antibiotic resistance: a global challenge [PDF/mB]

A vet´s perspective:  Interview with Dr Matthias Link (vet and animal health consultant for organic farming)

Poor and forgotten -
Examination of the business behaviour of Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer and Baxter in Uganda

BUKO Pharma-Kampagne and HEPS Uganda have scrutinised the business behaviour of the pharma companies Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim and Baxter in Uganda. The conclusion: The brand manufacturers have no or only little interest in supplying a country without solvent patients with drugs or in getting involved in research there. While Baxter has already given up on the Ugandan market, Boehringer Ingelheim is planning to retreat. Only Bayer carries on selling drugs in Uganda – among them several hormone preparations and contraceptives, some of them of rather dubious benefit. This study presents valid facts and analyses concerning Uganda and raises important questions actors and deciders in development and health policy have to face: For instance, how can you fill gaps in supply while the free market fails? How can you consolidate local production? And last but not least – are development aid funds – for instance the Contraceptive-Security-Initiative or the Jadelle-Access-Programme in favour of Bayer – a reasonable stimulus to induce pharma companies to engage in neglected markets, e.g. in Uganda?

Download: Brochure [PDF/2,1 mB]


At the expense of the poor? -
Examination of the business behaviour of Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer and Baxter in Brazil

BUKO Pharma-Kampagne has carefully examined the business behaviour of Bayer Health Care, Boehringer Ingelheim and Baxter in Brazil. Our conclusions: whereas Baxter´s portfolio exclusively comprises rational drugs, the manufacturers Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim sell quite a number of nonsensical preparations. Even the majority of the blockbusters declared inventive do not offer advantageous treatment for the patients. They are unaffordably expensive and waste scarce resources. The examined companies conduct a large number of research projects in Brazil. Those are focused on lucrative fields such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes - diseases which are increasingly common in Brazil. For neglected diseases, which are also still common in Brazil, the companies don´t show much committment.
The study was conducted with the financial assistance of the Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung NRW.

Download: Brochure [PDF/2,0 mB]

At any price? -
Examination of the business behaviour of Boehringer Ingelheim,
Bayer and Baxter in India

BUKO Pharma-Kampagne and the Institute of Public Health Bangalore/ India have made a survey of the business behavior of Bayer Health Care, Boehringer Ingelheim and Baxter in India. The results: these companies sell many irrational preparations and offer only few essential innovations. Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim conduct numerous clinical trials in India, but they prefer to search for new applications of their blockbusters instead of doing research in the field of neglected diseases. Especially Boehringer Ingelheim has a poor pharmaceutical portfolio with 70% of irrational drugs and no essential preparation. Other topics of the survey focus on patent policies and marketing practices.
The study was conducted with the  financial assistance of the Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung NRW.

Download Brochure [PDF/ 1,5MB]

Malaria - From the heart of Europe to the Topics

Malaria is considered to be a tropical disease today. In earlier days, however, it also caused much suffering here in Europe. The marshes and moors of Northern Germany had been dreaded malaria-infested regions up to the 19th century. During the epidemic in 1826, every second child is said to have been infected with the marsh fever. Similarly, outbreaks of malaria were quite frequent at the Upper Rhine. Fortunately, this is a thing of the past. On the southern hemisphere though, malaria is still harsh reality even today. Almost one million people die of a fatal mosquito bite each year, every 30 seconds a child dies. That is reason enough to take a look at the disease. Read more...


Website informes about equitable licensing project in Germany
For the first time a German platform gives information about new approaches for the use of patents from publicly-funded research. Following the concept "Medical research: science in the public interest", drugs and vaccines based on publicly-funded research should be made available to people in developing countries. Therefor new license models will be developed.

gives background information on the insufficient drug supply in developing countries and seeks for solutions for an equitable use of patents in German research institutions. Cases studies will refer to universities in the United States were concepts of equitable licensing are already discussed and partly implemented. Equitable licensing means licensing concepts where provisions to improve access for developing countries are included.
Today this concepts are hardly discussed in Germany. Therefor the website was mainly developed for German target groups, but has also a section in English language giving basic information on the project.
www.med4all.org is a cooperation by BUKO Pharma-Kampagne (Bielefeld), Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin and the Center for European Law Politics / University of Bremen with financial support by Volkswagen Foundation.

Did you hear about the Constant Gardener?
Many have seen the film following John le Carré’s book “The Constant Gardener”. We are more than delighted that “The Constant Gardener” has not only become a bestseller but also has attracted much attention to a topic that is usually neglected by public interest: The role of pharmaceutical producers in developing countries. Multinational companies based in the rich countries are selling harmful, useless and far too expensive drugs to the world’s poorest nations. They are corrupting medical practice and earn huge profits from people who have to struggle for their everyday survival.

Many readers have written to us. Please do not hesitate to come back to us if you need further information. If you want to give us a donation you can go directly to our call for donation