[Ip-health] MSF and DNDi Join Call for a Biomedical R&D Fund and Mechanism to Meet Pressing Global Health Needs

Rachel Cohen rachel.cohen72 at gmail.com
Mon May 11 11:27:20 PDT 2015



MSF and DNDi Join Call for a Biomedical Research and Development Fund and
Mechanism to Meet Pressing Global Health Needs

A group of renowned global health experts*, including from Médecins Sans
Frontières (MSF) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), are
calling for the creation of a global health research and development (R&D)
fund and mechanism to address deadly gaps in innovation for emerging
infectious diseases such as Ebola, anti-microbial resistance, and a host of
other diseases that have been neglected by the pharmaceutical market. The
call comes at a time when these and other public health challenges are high
on political agendas in the lead up to World Health Assembly next week and
the G7 Summit in June.


In an article published today in
31> PLOS Medicine, the experts argue that recent proposals to tackle R&D
gaps are too fragmented, while failing to adequately address issues of
affordability, access and efficiency in the R&D process. The authors include
experts from MSF and DNDi, as well as public and private research
institutions, government officials, non-governmental organizations, and
academic groups from Europe, China, India, and South Africa.

“Over a year into the crisis in West Africa, therapeutics and vaccines for
Ebola remain experimental, the pipeline for new antibiotics is dry, and many
diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines for a range of other neglected
diseases are archaic, unaffordable, or non-existent,” said Dr. Bernard
Pécoul, Executive Director of DNDi. “Various initiatives to tackle these
gaps are being discussed but there is a risk that this will further fragment
efforts to accelerate R&D for desperately needed new health technologies. A
coordinated approach is crucial.”

The authors propose a fund and mechanism that can act as an “umbrella
framework” to cover all disease areas that suffer from chronic
under-investment in R&D. This “pooled fund” should complement existing
funding mechanisms and secure long-term and sustainable financing primarily
from governments but also other donors. It should be owned and overseen by
governments with a strong link to an inter-governmental agency like the WHO,
but private and philanthropic actors and civil society should be involved as
stakeholders. Existing multilateral funds can serve as models, such as those
created to scale up delivery of treatment and prevention programmes in
developing countries like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and UNITAID. 

“We need strong public leadership to fix our broken R&D system, which relies
on monopolies and high prices and does not work for people who fall outside
of the market-based paradigm,” said Dr. Manica Balasegaram, Executive
Director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “Instead of a chaotic patchwork of new
R&D mechanisms and funds linked to specific diseases, we need to effectively
channel these efforts towards cohesive, needs-driven innovation that ensures
equitable access for patients.”   

The authors argue that the proposed fund and mechanism must take an
independent approach to priority-setting, monitoring, and coordination of
R&D, and be based on the principles of open knowledge innovation, fair
licensing, and the de-linkage of the final price of a product from R&D

PLOS Medicine
A Global Biomedical R&D Fund and Mechanism for Innovations of Public Health
31> Read article

*List of expert authors
Manica Balasegaram, Access Campaign, Medecins Sans Frontiers, Geneva,
Christian Bréchot, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome Trust, London, UK
David Heymann, Centre of Global Health Security, Chatham House, London, UK
Nirmal Ganguly, Jawaharial Institure of Postgraduate Medical Education &
Research, Puducherry, India
Martin Khor, South Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
Yves Lévy, INSERM, Paris, France
Precious Matsoso, Department of Health, Pretoria, South Africa
Ren Minghui, Department of International Cooperation, China National Health
and Family Planning Commission, China Ministry of Health, Beijing, People’s
Republic of China
Bernard Pécoul, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, Geneva, Switzerland
Liu Peilong, Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, Peking
University, Peking, China
Marcel Tanner, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel,
John-Arne Rottingen, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway,
University of Oslo, Norway, Harvard 
T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The following authors are available for comment: 
Manica Balasegaram, Bernard Pécoul and John-Arne Rottingen

For all media inquiries please contact:
Sian Bowen (DNDi - Geneva). Mobile: +41 79 932 42 68
<mailto:sbowen at dndi.org> sbowen at dndi.org 
Ilan Moss (DNDi - North America): Mobile: +1 646 266 5216
<mailto:imoss at dndi.org> imoss at dndi.org 
Michelle French (MSF Access Campaign): Mobile +1 646 552 4600
<mailto:michelle.french at newyork.msf.org> michelle.french at newyork.msf.org


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