[Ip-health] Press Release: EU and U.S. negotiators block broad support of low and middle income countries to move towards binding health and development R&D convention

tessel mellema tesselmellema at hotmail.com
Fri May 25 07:21:31 PDT 2012

Release: EU and U.S. negotiators block broad
support of low and middle income countries to move towards binding health and
development R&D convention 


25 May 2012: 65th
World Health Assembly - Health Action International (HAI) expresses its deep
concerns over what appear to be attempts of the EU and U.S. to block the broad
support of key emerging economies and developing countries to start a process
to move towards a binding agreement on biomedical R&D.


WHO’s Consultative Expert Working Committees’ recommendation to move towards a
binding agreement on health R&D brings to a head a more than 10 year effort
by the international community to formulate a structural solution to the
systemic failure of R&D to meet global health needs, particularly those of
developing countries. The solution recommended by the CEWG and garnering broad
support from developing and emerging economies builds on earlier views on how
to address unsustainable medical research gaps in meeting global health
priorities. Four years ago, the need for a global framework on health R&D
was singled out by EU Member States as the solution to the systemic failures on
health R&D (Council Conclusions on Global Health 2008). This commitment was
repeated by WHO Member States in the Global Strategy and Plan of Action
(GSPoA). The CEWG was explicitly established to further develop these ideas. 

binding biomedical R&D convention could effectively address the key
objectives that publicly funded R&D should fulfill the health needs of
developing countries: Predictable financing, efficient use of R&D
resources, effective coordination in priority setting and affordable access to
medicines. HAI considers a binding agreement to be necessary to overcome
the collective action problems inherent to the global public good element of
global biomedical knowledge. Moreover, the alternative of non-binding
recommendations is not by definition easier to negotiate and the result, even
if achieved, may also be considerably weaker and would not secure the necessary

course, HAI recognizes
the need for Member States to continue analysis of the technical and practical
implications and the shape and form of the different elements of the proposed
biomedical R&D convention. This does not justify, however, postponing a
clear and effective roadmap that works towards a global agreement on health
R&D. As part of its commitment to be the leader in Global Health, the EU
cannot ignore the clear and broadly supported call of low and middle income
countries to share the global responsibility and work towards an effective
global solution for the current most pressing problem in the global health: the
lack of available and affordable medicines to meet the health needs of the
world’s poor. 


calls upon EU Member States to be a leader in Global Health and agree on a
clear roadmap and process to move towards a binding agreement on health R&D
under Article 19 of the WHO Constitution. The time has come for the
international community to move forward and work towards a structural solution
that has the potential to save millions of lives a year and the promise of real
progress in global health. 



Tessel Mellema

Project Officer - Trade, Innovation & Access to Medicines


Health Action International (HAI) Europe

Overtoom 60 II, 1054 HK Amsterdam 

t. +31 20 683 3684

f. +31 20 685 5002

e. Tessel at haieurope.org 

w. www.haieurope.org


Health Action International (HAI) is an independent, global network
working to increase access to essential medicines and improve their rational
use through research excellence and evidence-based advocacy.


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