[Ip-health] Huffpo: Obama Administration Blocks Global Health Fund To Fight Disease In Developing Nations

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Fri May 25 05:46:25 PDT 2012


This is a story by Zach Carter in the Huffington Post.

At the end of the story, Zach publishes an exchange of email with Nils
Daulaire, the lead US negotiator.  at one point, Nils says "Where did
I say the US was opposed to funding for R&D?"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/25/global-health-fund-obama-administration_n_1544399.html?1337949364

Zach Carter
zach.carter at huffingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration has alarmed global health
experts by opposing a new international fund that would fight disease
in the developing world. The new fund would require other countries to
share a cost burden currently borne predominantly by United States
taxpayers, but has nevertheless generated ideological opposition from
American negotiators.

Although they have received scant domestic media attention, major
international talks currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland,
where many governments and public health advocates hope to establish a
new fund to create medications that will combat disease in poor
countries.

"At this time, we do not favor the establishment of an
intergovernmental working group to further develop the ... proposals,"
said Nils Daulaire, director of the Office of Global Health Affairs
for the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Daulaire, who is leading negotiations for the U.S., went on to object
to nearly every main tenet of the proposed fund -- most notably a
provision that would require all nations involved in the talks to
contribute to a fund to fight disease in developing countries.
Although the U.S. has long spent far more money than any other nation
on developing new drugs to help the global poor, Daulaire and the
Obama administration want to keep this research voluntary, rather than
binding under an international agreement. Daulaire also objected to
the new fund on the grounds that it could be construed as "a global
tax."

"The U.S. has tried to kill it for ideological reasons," said Jamie
Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, a medical-access
nonprofit. "The U.S. is the only country that wouldn't have to pay
more, because the U.S. already pays more for the research than every
other country would. So the treaty would force everyone, even
developing countries, to pay more -- Russia, Ecuador, even Sweden."

Drugs that treat diseases predominantly afflicting the global poor are
not very profitable. As a result, private-sector research for cures
tends to focus on problems in wealthier nations. The federal
government's National Institutes of Health in the United States
devotes billions a year to medical research in a wide variety of
areas, including diseases afflicting the developing world, making it
far and away the global leader in such research.

An April report by World Health Organization experts recommended the
establishment of a research and development fund that all governments
would be required to pay into based on their country's total economy.
The Obama administration and the French government have obstructed the
process, according to public health advocates attending the
conference.

"We are especially surprised to see the U.S. taking such a hardline
position, since they already meet the level of financial contributions
to medical R&D suggested in the expert report," said Michelle Childs,
director of policy and advocacy at Doctors Without Borders’ Access
Campaign, in a written statement. "It's high time that all countries
move toward a sustainable solution to fix the market failure of the
current R&D model and meet the needs of the majority of people on the
planet."

It is unclear exactly why American negotiators oppose the new program.
In an email exchange with HuffPost, Daulaire insisted that the U.S.
does in fact support the global fund, a claim that directly
contradicts his public statement to the World Health Assembly from
Wednesday, and the reports of public health advocates attending the
conference in Geneva. [Read the full public statement and the email
exchange with HuffPost below].

   [snip]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zach Carter to Nils Daulaire	 4:33 PM
Hey Nils -- I'm writing a story on the U.S. opposing a global R&D fund
for lifesaving medications targeting the developing world. Why is the
U.S. opposing the fund? Doesn't the U.S. already agree on the
IPR/market failure here?

Thanks,

Zach

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nils Daulaire (HHS/OS/OGA)	4:38 PM
to me

You are misinformed. We do not oppose R&D funding - especially since
we provide most of it.

Nils Daulaire, M.D., M.P.H.
U.S. Representative to the WHO Executive Board
Director, Office of Global Affairs
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, D.C.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zach Carter	4:39 PM
to Nils

But you're opposing the global fund, yes?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Daulaire, Nils (HHS/OS/OGA)	4:42 PM
to me

Again, you are misinformed.

Nils Daulaire, M.D., M.P.H.
U.S. Representative to the WHO Executive Board
Director, Office of Global Affairs
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, D.C.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zach Carter 4:44 PM
to Nils

A bunch of global health advocates are about to issue statements
saying the U.S. is opposing the fund up for consideration at the WHA.
Are they all confused?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zach Carter	4:45 PM
to Nils

Is this not your statement?

http://keionline.org/node/1417

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Daulaire, Nils (HHS/OS/OGA)	 4:50 PM
to me

Where did I say the US was opposed to funding for R&D?
Nils Daulaire, M.D., M.P.H.
U.S. Representative to the WHO Executive Board
Director, Office of Global Affairs
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, D.C.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zach Carter	 4:55 PM
to Nils

This all sounds like opposition to a global R&D fund to me:

At this time, We do not favor the establishment of an
intergovernmental working group to further develop the CEWG proposals.
The member states of WHO have not yet adequately clarified the aims of
such a process.
We do not support the call for a binding instrument on financing by
Member States, and we have heard from a large number of member states
that they are not prepared to commit .01 percent of their gross
domestic product, as called for as obligatory under such a binding
instrument.
further, We cannot support any proposal that would put in place a new
financing mechanism that could be characterized as a
globally-collected tax
. . . .
We do not support the proposal that would establish a single pooled
financing mechanism - the history of innovation does not suggest that
such a single central mechanism would be likely to provide the kinds
of discoveries and products that the world needs.
. . . .

We do not support launching a new InterGovernmentalWorkingGroup.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Daulaire, Nils (HHS/OS/OGA)	4:57 PM
to me

Then show me the binding treaty that set up the Global Fund to Fight
AIDS, TB and Malaria. You are confusing means and ends.

Sorry, but I expect reporters to be better informed. I won't be
responding further.


Nils Daulaire, M.D., M.P.H.
U.S. Representative to the WHO Executive Board
Director, Office of Global Affairs
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, D.C.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zach Carter	 5:00 PM
to Nils

have fun in geneva

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Technically, much of what Daulaire said is accurate -- the U.S.
government has not come out against R&D funding altogether, merely the
internationally binding fund being urged by WHO experts. The Global
Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria does not finance drug
research, but rather helps countries pay the costs associated with
existing medications. The high price of patented drugs has caused
funding shortages in the program of late.




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