[Ip-health] UAEM Statement on Access to NCD Treatments

Bryan Collinsworth bcollinsworth at essentialmedicine.org
Tue May 24 05:42:37 PDT 2011

Below is a statement about access to affordable treatments for
noncommunicable diseases prepared for the World Health Assembly's committee
session on NCDs this past Saturday. Despite being submitted in due time and
of appropriate length, it was rejected by WHA leadership for unclear

As one of the preparers, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (an
international network of medical and law students supporting access to
medicines) wishes to share it widely with civil society allies, as well as
WHA/UN member state delegations who may be seeking collaboration or support
on this issue in advance of the UN High Level Meeting this fall.

Again, the statement text is below. Please feel free to share widely and to
contact me with questions or thoughts.

- Bryan Collinsworth, Exec. Director, Universities Allied for Essential
Medicines (UAEM)
  bcollinsworth at essentialmedicine.org / +00476731714 (GVA) /
+16464500752       (USA)

INTERVENTION re WHA64 Agenda Item: "Prevention and Control of
Noncommunicable Diseases" (item 13.12)
As WHO takes up the challenge of non-communicable diseases, Health Action
International and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines respectfully
encourage delegates to apply the lessons of the HIV/AIDS crisis. We
emphasize two in particular:

First, an effective NCD strategy must address treatment along with
prevention. Many early responses to HIV/AIDS were limited by an exclusive
focus on prevention. WHO and member states can chart a new course for NCDs
by acting now to promote effective treatment in coordination with prevention

Second, we worry that the affordability of NCD treatments has received
insufficient attention. As the AIDS crisis taught, intellectual property
restrictions can often price life-saving medicines out of reach for the
majority of patients, while competitive generic production of medicines is
the most effective way to ensure global affordability. Although many NCD
medicines already exist in generic form, we urge member states to guard
against inflated pricing for these treatments by disseminating clear,
scientifically-based clinical guidelines and public information, and
resisting data exclusivity measures or deceptive marketing of branded

Additionally, we believe WHO has a crucial leadership role in promoting
innovation in NCD treatment, and ensuring that intellectual property
restrictions do not deny low-income patients access to new medical
breakthroughs. We urge WHO to explore de-linking R&D costs from the price of
NCD treatments through incentives such as prize funds, as promoted by the
Global Strategy on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. We
also urge member states to take advantage of provisions in the TRIPS
Agreement allowing flexible application of intellectual property policies to
ensure access to innovative NCD treatments.

More information about the Ip-health mailing list