[Ip-health] MSF intervention on CEWG R&D Financing and Coordination at 66th WHA

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Fri May 24 07:04:36 PDT 2013

*Agenda item 17.2: Follow-up of the report of the Consultative Expert
Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG)

*Intervention delivered by Katy Athersuch, *Médecins Sans Frontières


* *

The central recommendation of the CEWG report was for Member States to
start formal negotiations towards a global framework – an R&D Convention –
that would strengthen coordination and financing of medical innovation and
would define global norms to ensure the cost of R&D is de-linked from the
price of products and thereby secure the widest possible access.

Médecins Sans Frontières (International) welcomed the analysis and
recommendations of the CEWG. MSF field teams bear witness to the fact that
the current innovation model is failing:

   - Gaps remain where commercial incentives are insufficient to encourage
   R&D:  we need vaccines that are needle-free or that do not have to be
   refrigerated, to reach the millions of children currently being
missed;previously treatable diseases are becoming difficult to treat
because of
   antibiotic resistance; there are no appropriate diagnostics or drugs for
   children with tuberculosis, and no tool to determine whether someone is
   cured of Chagas disease.
   - Products are too often priced out of reach. Newer vaccines are
   particularly expensive and threaten the sustainability of immunisation
   programmes.  New HIV or cancer drugs can cost hundreds of times more
   than average annual incomes.

This shows the necessity of developing an innovation model that is health
needs-driven and results in medical innovation that is accessible and
affordable to all.

MSF remains concerned by the lack of ambition in the operative part of the
draft resolution, which is weak and lacks definition. Despite the clear
recommendations of the CEWG report, the resolution could postpone WHO-level
discussions on a global R&D Convention until 2016. There is a disconnect
between the recognition of the scale and urgency of the problem and the
fact that proposals for transformative change are again being postponed.

The draft resolution is minimalist, proposing just three concrete actions:

a)      monitoring R&D through a global observatory;

b)      setting up ‘demonstration projects’;

c)      developing norms and standards for classification of health R&D, to
systematically collect information.

These elements are important. It is critical, however, to ensure that they
are designed and implemented in a way that builds on the conclusions of the
CEWG report. This work should be guided by the principles of innovation *
with* access, as outlined in the report. We urge Member States to show the
political will, and ensure technical and financial resources are there to
drive these proposals forward in a meaningful way.

This resolution is just the starting point. Although the medium-term
framework of the GSPA is set to come to an end in 2015, much of its
ambition remains unfulfilled. Member States need to look to the longer-term
framework that will be needed to ensure affordable, needs-driven
innovation. Meaningful progress on financing, coordination and the
agreement of global norms must follow.

To the US proposal that has just been tabled. We must learn from previous
mistakes in the appointment of technical experts as we saw with the first
Expert working group. Using the good example of the CEWG, there should be a
member state led process for the selection of experts to this group in
order to ensure transparency. Thank you.

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