[Ip-health] KEI Statements on World Health Assembly Committee Passage of Cancer Resolution | May 30, 2017

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue May 30 09:05:11 PDT 2017


KEI Statements on World Health Assembly Committee Passage of Cancer
Resolution | May 30, 2017

*For additional information, contact:*

   - James Love (+41.76.413.6854 thru Wed., May 31, 2017, and
   +1.202.361.3040 thereafter, james.love at keionline.org)
   - Thiru Balasubramaniam (thiru at keionline.org, +41.76.508.0997)

*Statement of James Love, Director, KEI:*

"On Tuesday, May 30, 2017, delegates meeting at the 70th World Health
Assembly in Geneva passed a resolution that gives the World Health
Organization (WHO) a new mandate for its work on cancer prevention and
treatment. The resolution is an important milestone in focusing the
attention of the UN body on the disparities of access to treatment. The
most controversial issue in the resolution was the text dealing with
pharmaceuticals, and in particular, pricing and access, transparency of R&D
costs, and to conduct a feasibility study of delinking R&D costs, including
incentives, from drug prices.

"The Trump Administration opposed a specific reference to a feasibility
study for delinkage. Some European countries, such as Portugal and France,
and some developing countries, such as India and Brazil, were supportive of
studying alternatives to high drug prices. In the end, the resolution
provides a sufficient mandate for the WHO Secretariat to address delinkage,
by referencing the 'value chain' of drug development and pricing, and
'options that might enhance the affordability and accessibility of these

"Going forward, much will depend upon the new leadership at the WHO, as
these reforms were previously blocked by the outgoing WHO Director-General
Margaret Chan, as well as the level of support for delinkage in Member
States. Without decent political leadership on delinkage at the national
level, it won’t happen. Fortunately, there is now growing interest in
Europe, more support in developing countries (in part due to the positive
impact of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to
Medicine), and some encouraging signs in the United States. Several members
of the U.S. Congress are now calling for feasibility studies of delinkage,
and even some persons in the Trump Administration have signaled some new
openness on this issue.

"On September 26, members of the European Parliament will host two days of
meetings on delinkage, where the proposal for a Cancer Innovation Fund will
be discussed."

*Statement of Thiru Balasubramaniam, Geneva Representative, KEI:*

"The World Health Organization has a fresh mandate that we think can be
used to address the most transformative reforms to make cancer drugs
available at affordable prices, but it will take a lot of work to move this
forward. We look for Dr. Tedros to take the bull by the horns to lead WHO’s
work on transparency, affordability, and delinkage."

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