[A2k] KEI letter to WHO regarding McKinsey, vaccine policy and competing interests

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Feb 17 21:33:52 PST 2011


http://keionline.org/node/1078

KEI letter to WHO regarding McKinsey, vaccine policy and competing  
interests
By thiru
Created 15 Feb 2011 - 2:37pm
On 15 February 2011, the Co-Chairs of the WHO Open-Ended Working Group  
of Member States on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: sharing of  
influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits (OEWG)  
held a consultation with civil society [1]. The Co-chairs of the OEWG  
are Ambassador J. Gomez-Camacho, Mexico and Ambassador B. Angell- 
Hansen, Norway. Representatives of the Berne Declaration, Consumers  
Association of Penang, Knowledge Ecology International, People's  
Health Movement and Third World Network participated in this  
consultation with a few WHO member states including Bangladesh,  
Brazil, France, Germany and the United States in attendance.

KEI posed the following questions:

"The Preliminary findings for the technical studies [2] under  
resolution WHA63.1 notes that due to the “significant breadth of the  
areas under study, and the limited human and financial resources of  
the Organization to carry out the full studies, the Secretariat sought  
external support” and further notes that the “Bill & Melinda Gates  
Foundation agreed to provide support through a contract with McKinsey  
& Company, which was selected on the basis of its broad expertise in  
public health, financing, health economics, and influenza vaccines;  
its ability to start working on the project quickly; and its global  
team”.
In terms of McKinsey's selection for undertaking these technical  
studies, what was the process employed by the WHO and the Open-Ended  
Working Group of Member States on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness:  
sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other  
benefits  (OEWG) in selecting McKinsey? Did WHO use a competitive  
bidding process? Did WHO require McKinsey to declare any conflicts of  
interest? In terms of a retainer, how much did McKinsey receive for  
its work in producing the Preliminary findings for the technical  
studies under resolution WHA63.1? Considering that McKinsey, a leading  
management consulting firm, operates on a non-exclusive basis, did its  
selection comply with WHO's conflict of interest policy?"

The Office of the WHO Legal Counsel responded by noting the exigent  
circumstances that required WHO seeking external help in preparing the  
preliminary technical studies under resolution WHA63.1. In terms of  
disclosure, WHO stated that the Organization did not require  
declarations of interest from entities, but noted that a transparent  
process was followed in notifying WHO member states that the Gates  
Foundation "agreed to provide support through a contract with McKinsey  
& Company" regarding the technical studies. As entities are not  
required to disclose competing interests, WHO did not answer KEI's  
question regarding competing interests McKinsey may have regarding  
vaccines policy nor did WHO answer about the remuneration McKinsey  
received for it work in preparing the technical studies.

KEI's interventions were motivated by our interest in having  
disclosure of McKinsey's clients in the vaccine business. In the  
future, WHO and its member states may want deepen consideration of the  
competing interests of consulting firms hired to advise WHO on vaccine  
policies especially as they relate to clients that may include vaccine  
manufacturers, antiviral manufacturers, other vaccine related  
consulting work for businesses, governments or non-profit entities.

On 16 February 2011, KEI wrote the a letter WHO expressing our  
concerns regarding the general WHO practices of using consulting  
firms, and the specific case of using McKinsey & Company as an advisor  
on vaccine policies. Here is the letter reproduced below:

"16 February 2011
TO: Dr. Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General, Health Security and  
Environment, World Health Organization

CC: Ambassador J. Gomez-Camacho (Mexico), Ambassador B. Angell-Hansen  
(Norway), Steven Solomon,
Principal Legal Officer, World Health Organization.

Dear Dr. Keiji Fukuda,

I am writing to you concerning the general WHO practices of using  
consulting firms, and the specific case of using McKinsey & Company as  
an advisor on vaccine policies.

Given McKinsey's role in advising WHO, we would appreciate information  
regarding McKinsey’s competing interests as regards to vaccines  
policies. For example, we would appreciate a disclosure of McKinsey’s  
work for vaccine manufacturers, antiviral manufacturers, other vaccine  
related consulting work for businesses, governments or non-profit  
entities.

We also request information about the fee that McKinsey was paid for  
its recent work on vaccine policy for the WHO in relation to the  
document entitled Preliminary findings for the technical studies under  
resolution WHA63.1 (http://apps.who.int/gb/pip/pdf_files/OEWG2/PIP_OEWG_Preliminary-findings 
... [2]).

Thank you for your consideration,

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)"

Source URL: http://keionline.org/node/1078
Links:
[1] http://apps.who.int/gb/pip/pdf_files/Influenza_CSO_consultation.pdf
[2] http://apps.who.int/gb/pip/pdf_files/OEWG2/PIP_OEWG_Preliminary-findings-en.pdf
[3] http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/McKinseyconflictofinterest16Feb2011.pdf


------------------------------------------------------------


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org


Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997








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