[Ip-health] Health Policy Watch Makes Latest Text Of WHO Transparency Resolution Open Access

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon May 13 09:18:04 PDT 2019


Health Policy Watch Makes Latest Text Of WHO Transparency Resolution Open
Access13/05/2019 by William New

*Health Policy Watch* is publishing in an open-access format the latest
draft of the World Health Assembly resolution on transparency of drug
costs. The new draft, now available to all, reflects changes from the 10
May closed-door informal negotiations at the WHO, and shows progress toward
compromise among member states.

The 10 May version of the draft resolution is available here

*Health Policy Watch* is an independent, fully open-access journal of daily
news and information about global health policy, with offices located next
door to the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

The resolution, which is expected to come up under World Health Assembly
(WHA) provisional agenda item 11.7, shows significant negotiating is yet to
come. The text shows brackets around language that is proposed and not yet
under agreement, and also shows which countries made each proposal.

The draft resolution originated with Italy at the January Executive Board
meeting and is jointly proposed by Italy, Greece, Malaysia, Portugal,
Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey and Uganda. The original
proposal focused on making research and development costs, and clinical
trials more transparent in order to address access and high prices that are
affecting rich and poor countries alike.

One theme that seems to be emerging is to place whatever measures are
resolved by the WHA into each country’s national context and make many item
voluntary. Another is to add language to emphasize, or not undermine, the
concept that innovation is crucial for new medicines. In addition there are
efforts to increase the emphasis on generic medicines, and there are a
variety of proposals aimed at setting up future activities such as measures
for information-sharing, or to enhance transparency of markets for drugs
and vaccines, collaboration on R&D, and increasing awareness of patenting
databases. Others include a feasibility study, creation of a forum of
experts or of a biennial forum on transparency of markets, and further
promoting the WHO-led Fair Pricing Forum that has provided a venue for
discussion of these issues over the past two years.

Italy and South Korea, with a variety of other countries cosponsoring, will
host an event on this issue on 20 May, the first day of the 20-28 May World
Health Assembly. The event is entitled, Access to Medicines, Vaccines and
Health Products: A multi-dimensional approach for ensuring transparency of
markets, affordable and quality medicines to achieve Universal Health
Coverage. Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant Director General for Medicines
and Health Products, will moderate the panel, with ministers from South
Korea, Italy, and Indonesia, and possibly WHO Director-General Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

According to NGO Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), the countries
making the most proposed changes from the 7 May version to the 10 May
version were the United States, Germany, and Brazil.

“The Friday negotiations were more constructive than the first informal on
Tuesday,” James Love, president of NGO Knowledge Ecology International,
told *Health Policy Watch*. “That said, there were such wide divergences in
terms of what countries want, and don’t want, that the sponsors, ten
countries that actually want more transparency, will have to come back and
provide a new revised proposal that will include I’m sure some compromises
and nuances, and will still require negotiations at the WHA. Germany,
France and the UK are probably the biggest obstacles to progress on
transparency, but not the only one. Overall, this is a tough negotiation,
particularly given how aggressive is the pharmaceutical industry in trying
to block transparency measures. Transparency of R&D costs will be the
biggest challenge.”

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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