26 July, 2016 – Fifa Rahman, a lawyer and Policy Consultant with the Malaysian AIDS Council spoke at a CME entitled “Global Health Diplomacy, Trade and Access to Medicines” at the John Bosco Hall in IMU Clinical School, Seremban. Fifa is a public health politics professional, researcher and strategic advocate and also attended four rounds of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations as a stakeholder. Her presentation was thought provoking and challenging. Fifa stressed that medical advocacy should be part of medical curricula and all healthcare professionals should have some knowledge on health diplomacy issues that influence the delivery of health worldwide and in local settings. She highlighted that the TPPA will protect patents for large pharmaceuticals more into making generic medications, which are more affordable, harder to access. She also showed evidence that some of the justification for longer patents are not evidenced and may actually be concocted. Products such as biologics are even more protected with the coming of the TPPA. Orphan drugs are drugs that are not developed by the pharmaceutical industry for economic reasons but which are necessary for public health needs. Orphan drugs are neglected but Malaysia is one of the first few countries to develop a manufacturing industry of orphan drugs. The other important move forward has been the development of the non-aligned, non-pharmaceutical driven Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development (CEWG) which was established by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2010. It hopes to get countries to commit to R&D and developing drugs so that the reliance on Pharmaceuticals will diminish.