[Ip-health] MSF intervention at WHO EB on agenda item 132/10.2 - Follow up report of CEWG on R&D

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Fri Jan 25 08:39:11 PST 2013

Executive Board 132; Agenda item 10.2: Follow-up of the report of the
Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing
and Coordination (CEWG). Intervention by Michelle Childs, Médecins Sans
Frontières International* *


MSF is deeply disappointed with both the report of the meeting of Member
States on the CEWG report and the draft Resolution.

Despite a clear restatement of the failures of the current R&D system to
deliver affordable, accessible and appropriate medical tools to meet the
needs of people in developing countries, Member States are being asked to
pass - unopened - an extremely weak Resolution which threatens to change

The Resolution postpones discussions on a global R&D framework and makes
very little concrete progress, despite the CEWG report’s clear call for
urgent collective action. This is unacceptable.

The few elements in the Resolution that *could* deliver results for
neglected areas of R&D are vague.  Clarifications are needed to ensure they
are ambitious and deliver. The proposed R&D Observatory, for example, must
fulfil three interlinked functions if it is to contribute towards
meaningful change:

§      It must identify what R&D is being undertaken;

§      It must to identify what R&D is missing;

§      And it must work with Member States and experts to determine R&D

If the Observatory does not have the mandate for these three functions, it
is of very limited worth.

The Resolution also requests the Director-General to facilitate the
implementation of health R&D demonstration projects. Such projects have the
potential to pilot new and improved mechanisms for financing R&D. However,
it is critical they be used to implement key principles outlined in the
CEWG report to deliver innovation and access.  This is necessary so that
they are indeed 'demonstrating' new R&D approaches, and not simply
replicating existing ones. They also need to feed into the development of
norms and standards for health R&D which incorporate the principle of

These clarifications are important and necessary.  Even if they are
accepted, however, the Resolution provides nowhere near enough to address
the magnitude of global health R&D challenges.

Without significantly strengthened public leadership and public funding for
neglected areas of R&D, we will be left with a piecemeal response. We need
a more sustainable solution- a global R&D framework- driven by Member
States themselves.

Joanna Keenan
Press Officer
Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
P: +41 22 849 87 45
M: +41 79 203 13 02
E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
T: twitter.com/joanna_keenan


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