[Ip-health] WHA72: Portuguese Minister of Health, Marta Temido, underscores strong support for the WHO transparency resolution

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon May 20 22:02:36 PDT 2019


https://www.keionline.org/30805
WHA72: Portuguese Minister of Health, Marta Temido, underscores strong
support for the WHO transparency resolution
Posted on May 21, 2019 <https://www.keionline.org/30805> by Thiru
<https://www.keionline.org/author/thiru>

On Monday, 20 May 2019, the Republic of Korea, Italy, Costa Rica, Greece,
Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of
Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Vietnam convened an official side event at
the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly on “Access to medicines,
vaccines and health products: A multi-dimensional approach for ensuring
transparency of markets, affordable and quality products to achieve
Universal Health Coverage”. Health Policy Watch published an informative
piece on this event, Several Ministers Of Health Speak Up For Drug Market
Transparency, Lower Prices At WHA Side Event
<https://www.healthpolicy-watch.org/several-ministers-of-health-speak-up-for-drug-market-transparency-lower-prices-at-wha-side-event/>
.

The following intervention by Portugal’s Minister of Health, Marta Temido,
was delivered in Salle XXIII of the United Nations Palais des Nations. In
her speech, Minister Temido underscored Portugal’s unwavering support of
the WHO transparency resolution <https://www.keionline.org/30793>.


   Transparency is a fundamental value of modern, open and democratic
   societies.


   However, lack of transparency prevails in the pharmaceutical and health
   technologies market, from research and development to quality assurance,
   regulatory capacity, supply chain management and use.


   In order to tackle this issue, we strongly support the introduction of
   measures and the use of tools to increase transparency. Besides, sharing
   reliable and detailed data on Research & Development, benefits and added
   therapeutic value of products is paramount to leverage negotiations and
   consequently enhance affordability and accessibility of medicines.


   Thus, has we have come to defend, promoting transparency throughout the
   value chain, strengthening pricing policies, cross-sector and cross-border
   collaboration for information-sharing, regulation and joint procurement of
   medicines are paramount to enhance affordability and accessibility of
   medicines.


   This is one of the reasons why Portugal has decided to join Italy before
   this Assembly as main sponsor of the draft resolution on Improving the
   transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines and other health-related
   technologies.

Minister Temido’s remarks are reproduced in full below.
------------------------------

72 World Health Assembly Side-event

(20 May 2019)

Access to medicines, vaccines and health products: A multi-dimensional
approach for ensuring transparency of markets, affordable and quality
products to achieve UHC

It is with enormous satisfaction that I stand before you, in this important
event co-sponsored by Portugal, that gathers, under the same umbrella, two
important and intertwined issues: Universal Health Coverage and access to
medicines.

My first words are to acknowledge WHO for hosting this side-event to the
72nd World Health Assembly, supporting Portugal in its organization, and
granting the opportunity to address such a relevant and emergent topic that
concerns us all: the effective access to medicines, vaccines and health
products.

Today, we move towards a pragmatic approach to access quality, safe and
affordable medicines, from a human rights and public health perspective
that in itself constitutes an essential element of universal health
coverage and of addressing the right to health.

Guaranteeing equitable access to new and innovative medicines, especially
those that fulfil unmet medical needs or bring significant health benefits,
is a responsibility that binds us all in the shared duty of ensuring the
right to health and healthcare.

Over the last couple of years, there has been a continuous increase in
health care expenditure, despite the efforts to maintain sustainability of
health systems. Nevertheless, health care expenditure is expected to worsen
given the ageing of the population and the growth in the prevalence of
chronic diseases. Much of the increase in health care expenditure is
attributable to medicines and medical products.

At the same time, health systems face a continuous pressure to adopt new
drugs, with higher value for patients and health systems, but where matters
of cost-effectiveness and evidence based information still prevail. As an
example, I recall the case of hepatitis C or cancer drugs, which have
become personalized and are often orphan drugs.

This scenario endures countries to search for solutions to balance access
to innovative medicines, treatment safety and financial sustainability. In
line with this, collaboration between countries concerning access to
medicines has grown with the intention to address unmet medical needs and
limited financial resources.

We can all agree that in order to assess the worth of adopting innovative
health technologies it is necessary to have access to reliable, transparent
and detailed information throughout the lifecycle of the product and its
value chain. Additionally, it is important that payers collect information
that proves the claimed benefit, through national or European registries.

Transparency is a fundamental value of modern, open and democratic
societies.

However, lack of transparency prevails in the pharmaceutical and health
technologies market, from research and development to quality assurance,
regulatory capacity, supply chain management and use.

In order to tackle this issue, we strongly support the introduction of
measures and the use of tools to increase transparency. Besides, sharing
reliable and detailed data on Research & Development, benefits and added
therapeutic value of products is paramount to leverage negotiations and
consequently enhance affordability and accessibility of medicines.

The Valetta declaration initiative, in which Portugal participates, is
already taking steps towards an information sharing system to support such
goals.

Research & Development is, without any doubt, costly and needs to be impact
in the final price of the medicine, particularly in those cases where
Research & Development is funded and conducted by States. It is a matter of
good governance, respect for taxpayers’ money and ultimately for
guaranteeing human right to health.

Countries have to continue to collaborate between themselves and pursue the
ultimate goal of defending the public interest. The current situation where
we have to wait for the industry, where we are bound to confidential
agreements, where companies select preferences needs to change.

Despite the complexity and controversy around these matters, it is crucial
to promote a constructive and consequent debate between the industry, the
governments and other stakeholders and to foster a collaborative approach
that may enable longstanding sustainability and affordability for health
systems while ensuring access.

Thus, has we have come to defend, promoting transparency throughout the
value chain, strengthening pricing policies, cross-sector and cross-border
collaboration for information-sharing, regulation and joint procurement of
medicines are paramount to enhance affordability and accessibility of
medicines.

This is one of the reasons why Portugal has decided to join Italy before
this Assembly as main sponsor of the draft resolution on Improving the
transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines and other health-related
technologies.

We believe that it can represent a step forward in pragmatically address
this issue since it stimulates the sharing of international information
which is essential to achieve enhanced transparency, notably the
dissemination of the results and costs from human subject clinical trials
and generic product policies.

WHO has an essential role to play in helping and guiding States to address
the existing obstacles to access to medicines.

Portugal is strongly committed with the implementation of the next steps of
this resolution and of WHO’s roadmap on access to medicines.

Thank you very much!


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


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