[Ip-health] KEI Statement on WHA 63 Establishment of Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Finance and Coordination

James Love james.love at keionline.org
Fri May 21 10:20:00 PDT 2010


KEI Statement on WHA 63 Establishment of Consultative Expert Working
Group on Research and Development: Finance and Coordination

The World Health Assembly has just adopted a new resolution on the
"Establishment of a Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and
Development: Finance and Coordination." The resolution is just over 4
pages. It represents a dramatic response to earlier WHO Expert Working
Group (EWG), by

   1. calling for a more member drive role in establishing the
membership of the group,
   2. focusing extensively by the need to deepen the analysis,
   3. Recognizing the need to further explore and where appropriate,
promote a range of incentive schemes ..... addressing where appropriate,
the de-linkage of the costs of R&D and the price of health products, for
example through the award of prizes.
   4. calling on upon the new group to "further explore the six
proposals that did not meet the criteria applied by the EWG" in Appendix
2 of the EWG Report,
   5. creating new mandates for regional analysis and consultations, and
   6. "to put particular emphasis on the transparent management of
potential conflicts of interest."

The resolution was a major victory for developing countries and those
promoting transformative reforms in the way that research and
development and access to medicine is managed. In 2009, the WHA voted to
eliminate the WHO as a stakeholder in the biomedical R&D discussions,
and the EWG rejected both the biomedical R&D treaty and the use of
prizes to reward product development. The EWG did not mention the
concept of de-linking R&D costs from product prices -- the new
resolution highlights this for the new consultive group mandate. The EWG
met only with the pharmaceutical industry and a handful of groups funded
by Gates Foundation, ignored obvious conflicts of interest, and gave the
industry the opportunity review drafts and amend the language of the
report. The new mandate focuses on the need for transparency and to
better manage conflicts of interest.

Today the World Health Assembly has put the reform process back on
track. We now have a brand new opportunity and a fresh and strong
mandate to de-link R&D cost from product prices. This is one of the most
important steps yet in remaking the R&D system so it works for everyone.

Among the many countries that demonstrated leadership on this issue were
2 regional blocs: 1) UNASUR, the group of 12 South American countries
and 2) SEARO, the WHO region that includes India and Thailand. Ecuador,
president pro tempore, of UNASUR, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Thailand
and India emerged as powerful voices of the developing world.
Switzerland played a very constructive and important role, and the
European Union and the United States both showed sufficient flexibility
to advance this important reform agenda.  David Hohman of the US and
Norway were said to have played a particularly constructive role at the

A number of NGOs played an important role this negotiation, including
for example MSF, Health Action International, TWN, Oxfam, and the
People's Health Movement.  KEI's Thiru Balasubramaniam, Malini Aisola
and Judit Rius each contributed much in this debate.

James Love, Director, Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org | http://www.twitter.com/jamie_love
Wk: +1.202.332.2670 | US Mobile +1.202.361.3040 | Geneva Mobile +41.76.413.6584

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