[Ip-health] IP-Watch: WHO Board May Discuss UN High-Level Panel Report On Medicines Access

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Dec 1 01:14:07 PST 2016


http://www.ip-watch.org/2016/11/30/board-may-discuss-un-high
-level-panel-report-medicines-access/

WHO Board May Discuss UN High-Level Panel Report On Medicines Access

30/11/2016 BY WILLIAM NEW, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WATCH

The UN World Health Organization this week clarified that the possibility
exists for the WHO Executive Board to discuss a recently released report
from a UN Secretary General-appointed panel that makes recommendations for
improving global access to medicines.

The WHO had come under pressure for rejecting a request by a member state
to include an agenda item on the panel report at the next Board meeting in
January. A WHO official explained this week that the decision not to have a
separate agenda item on the issue came after it was determined that the
panel report could be discussed under other existing agenda items.

“[T]he Bureau noted that the substantive issues raised in the report could
be covered under two existing agenda items, 8.3 “Addressing the global
shortage of medicines and vaccines” and 8.5 “Follow-up of the report of the
Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing
and Coordination” and therefore did not recommend a separate and additional
agenda item,” the official said.

The clarification came from Timothy Armstrong, director of the WHO
Department of Governing Bodies, in an email response on behalf of the WHO
director general to a representative of the civil society group Third World
Network.

The report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to
Medicines, Promoting Innovation and Access to Health Technologies was
issued in September (IPW, United Nations, 14 September 2016). It made
numerous recommendations, such as to make it more difficult for governments
to hinder other governments from using agreed flexibilities to intellectual
property rules at the World Trade Organization, and to separate prices of
medical products from their cost of research and development.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week urged nations to take action on the
panel report (IPW, United Nations, 22 November 2016).

In early November, the World Trade Organization held a discussion on the UN
panel report, further prompting questions about the WHO’s apparent
reluctance (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 10 November 2016).

Below is the text of the email sent by the WHO (some personal information
removed):

From: ARMSTRONG, Timothy Peter
Date: Mon, Nov 28, 2016
Subject: FW: Civil Society Letter : Requesting Inclusion of UNHLP Report on
140th EB Agenda

Dear Mr Gopakumar

Please find below a communication on behalf of the Director-General.

—————————-

Dear Mr Gopakumar,

Thank you for your email. I have consulted with the Chair of the Executive
Board and I noted that during the teleconference with the Officers of the
Board to discuss the EB140 provisional agenda, the Officers referred to and
utilized the two sets of criteria for the inclusion of additional agenda
items established in resolution EB121.R1 and decision WHA65(9).
Furthermore, in view of the large number (16) of proposals for additional
items received from Member States 16, the Chair of the Executive Board
proposed that the Officers also use the following as criteria for
inclusion; (1) whether the items cover an urgent topic, or (2) involve a
subject that was time-sensitive and that had not been considered recently
by the governing bodies. The outcomes of the teleconference have been made
available to Member States.

With respect to India’s proposal for a separate and additional agenda item
on the UN SG report on access to medicines, the Bureau noted that the
substantive issues raised in the report could be covered under two existing
agenda items, 8.3 “Addressing the global shortage of medicines and
vaccines” and 8.5 “Follow-up of the report of the Consultative Expert
Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination” and
therefore did not recommend a separate and additional agenda item.

We appreciate the ongoing interest of the TWN and the NGO community in the
work of WHO.

Best regards,

Tim

Dr Timothy Armstrong
Director
Department of Governing Bodies

World Health Organization
CH-1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland



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