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Indian American Lawyer Priti Krishtel Named to Commission That Promotes Anti-racist Strategies and Actions

Indian American Lawyer Priti Krishtel Named to Commission That Promotes Anti-racist Strategies and Actions

  • She has spent 20 years exposing structural inequities affecting access to medicines and vaccines across the Global South and in the United States.

Health justice lawyer Priti Krishtel of California has been named to the O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination, and Global Health, to promote anti-racist strategies and actions that will reduce barriers to health and well-being. The Indian American has spent 20 years exposing structural inequities affecting access to medicines and vaccines across the Global South and in the United States. 

The three-year commission, whose Secretariat is based out of the O’Neill Institute at Georgetown University Law Center, includes close to 20 experts from across the globe, with the purpose to promote anti-racist strategies and actions that will reduce barriers to health and well-being. The Commission starts with substantial evidence that communities are facing health barriers solely based on race, ethnicity, tribe, caste, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ability, class, geography, or religion.

In a statement, Krishtel said she’s “proud to serve on this commission that will help shape a future where all people know they can keep their loved ones healthy, where people actively shape what access to medicines looks like for their families and communities.”

Early in her career, Krishtel, a 2020 McArthur Fellow, has worked to increase access to antiretroviral (ARV) treatments at the height of the global AIDS epidemic, according to her profile on the McArthur website. She worked alongside patients dying of AIDS and saw first-hand how patent monopolies often reduced the availability of life-saving medications in lower-income countries. 

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In 2006, she co-founded the Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK) to ensure the public had a voice in the pharmaceutical patent system. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has argued powerfully that incentivizing innovation should not come at the expense of equity and public health. Particularly during public health emergencies and for taxpayer-funded research, commercial and public interest concerns can be balanced. She is increasing the understanding of how intellectual property policy can impact personal, public, and global health care, and she and I-MAK are envisioning a patent system that benefits all people regardless of geography and economic status.

Krishtel received a BA from the University of California at Berkeley and a JD from the New York University School of Law. She worked with the Indian NGO Lawyers Collective before co-founding I-MAK. She has published in a variety of scientific journals and media platforms, including Science, Journal of the International AIDS Society, The British Medical Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and USA Today.

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