[Ip-health] IP-Watch: Draft Cancer Resolution Might Be Set For Approval At World Health Assembly

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri May 19 15:45:27 PDT 2017


https://www.ip-watch.org/2017/05/19/draft-cancer-resolution-might-set-approval-world-health-assembly

Draft Cancer Resolution Might Be Set For Approval At World Health Assembly

19/05/2017 BY CATHERINE SAEZ, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WATCH


According to sources, countries have agreed in the nick of time on a draft
resolution on cancer prevention, control, and access to cancer medicines,
and in particular the price of new cancer medicines, to be examined at the
World Health Assembly next week.

Agreement on the draft resolution, which seeks to address the price of new
cancer medicines in the context of increasing burden of the disease, has
been near for several weeks.

The draft resolution, as agreed, according to a source, foresees a
technical report to be presented at the 144th World Health Organization
Executive Board (in January 2019), looking at pricing approaches, including
transparency, and their impact on availability and affordability of
medicines for the prevention and treatment of cancer. The WHO, asked to
confirm the agreement has not answered at press time.

It was first discussed at the World Health Organization Executive Board in
January (IPW, WHO, 30 January 2017), but no consensus was found on the
language and member states were to seek common language before the WHA.

The last barrier, according to civil society sources, was a mention in the
resolution about the delinkage of the costs of research and development
(R&D) from the prices of cancer medicines. Earlier this month a group of
civil society organisations and health experts sent a letter to WHA
delegates urging them to support for a study on delinkage (IPW, WHO, 4 May
2017).

A 17 May confidential draft [pdf] is colour-coded, showing different levels
of agreement. In green: language agreed during drafting group during the
January Board meeting; blue: agreed during informal consultations which
took place between Feb-May 2017; and yellow: for text under consideration
by capitals.

Left in yellow in the 17 May draft was paragraph OP2.5 ter, which read like
this:

(OP2.5 ter) [to prepare a comprehensive technical report to the 144th
Executive Board that examines the impact of price transparency measures on
prices of medicines for the prevention and treatment of cancer, and, as may
exist, any evidence of the benefits or unintended negative consequences,
including on incentives for R&D investment and innovation of these
measures, as well as the relationship between costs and product prices,
financing gaps for R&D, and options that might enhance the affordability
and accessibility of these medicines;]

According to a source, this is the paragraph that was approved today:

“(OP2.5 ter) to prepare a comprehensive technical report to the 144th
Executive Board that examines pricing approaches, including transparency,
and their impact on availability and affordability of medicines for the
prevention and treatment of cancer, including any evidence of the benefits
or unintended negative consequences, as well as incentives for cancer R&D
investment and innovation of these measures, as well as the relationship
between inputs throughout the value chain and price setting, financing gaps
for cancer R&D, and options that might enhance the affordability and
accessibility of these medicines;”

The nongovernmental Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment (UACT) in a
release today said the final version was “watered down, due to drug company
lobbying.” But the group appeared satisfied that the resolution contains a
sufficient mandate “for the WHO to do quite a bit, depending upon the views
of the new WHO DG,” to be elected on 23 May.

Specific reference to delinkage is gone from the final text, but reference
to options enhancing the affordability and accessibility of cancer
medicines are still in, they remarked. They also positively commented on
the report on the relationship between inputs throughout the value chain
and price setting.

“It is disappointing and indeed appalling that drug companies were able to
block a specific reference to a feasibility study of delinkage, but also,
an indication that drug companies think of delinkage as more feasible than
they have acknowledged publicly,” the UACT said in the release.



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