[Ip-health] Statement on Conflicts if Interest delivered at WHA on behalf of HAI, Berne Declaration, KEI, TWN, PHM, IBFAN

Sophie Bloemen Sophie at haieurope.org
Fri May 20 02:43:00 PDT 2011


Today Health Action International, represented by one of its members,
Patrick Durisch, delivered the following statement at the World Health
Assembly in Geneva on Agenda Item 13.5 Global Immunization Vision and

64th WHA, item 13.5, 20.05.2011

Statement on the management of conflicts of interest in global
immunization governance

Thank you, Mr Chairman, for this opportunity to address the member
states and express our concerns about governance of the World Health
Organization (WHO) and other public health bodies, as regards the
management of conflicts of interest in global immunization governance.
This is a joint statement from Health Action International, Knowledge
Ecology International, Third World Network, the Berne Declaration, the
People's Health Movement and IBFAN.

WHO and other public health institutions have complex relations with
commercial entities that supply health care products and services. In
some cases the commercial entities are subject to or in need of
regulation, in order to protect consumers and promote the public
interest. Public health institutions are also often engaged in buying
goods and services, or providing financial assistance for such

It is therefore widely recognized that governments and public health
institutions like the WHO must avoid conflicts of interest in all
aspects of governance. WHO can only respond meaningfully to the
challenges of public health through greater transparency and
accountability guided by the priorities of Member States and the advance
of public interest. However, transparency is a necessary but not
sufficient safe guard: there must also be a clear approach and policy to
ensure that those representing commercial interests are not part of
policy and norm setting decision making.

We are concerned that proposals for the governance of the decade of
vaccines, do not adequately address the management of conflicts of
interest, and present an unrealistic and empirically unsupported
assumption that all stakeholders will collaborate to advance the public

We ask the WHO members to ensure that any changes in governance
structures address in a realistic manner the risks that conflicts of
interest will frustrate efforts to protect consumers and the public
interest. In this regard, we emphasize also the importance of evaluating
the conflicts of interest by pharmaceutical companies, vaccine
manufacturer, other industries, and private donors who have complex
private interests.

Specifically, we ask WHO members to guard against initiatives that will
give private interests and donors a greater role in WHO governance. For
this reason, we are calling on member countries to oppose the governance
of the Decade of Vaccines, as well as the proposed WHO reform.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

More information about the Ip-health mailing list