[Ip-health] IP-Watch: WHO Committee Agrees Plan For R&D For Neglected Diseases; TDR May Host Pooled Fund

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sat May 24 04:16:16 PDT 2014


WHO Committee Agrees Plan For R&D For Neglected Diseases; TDR May Host
Pooled FundPublished on 24 May 2014 @ 11:40 am

By William New <http://www.ip-watch.org/author/william/>, Intellectual
Property Watch

World Health Organization members in committee today agreed on a plan
taking forward efforts to find alternative financing for diseases
predominantly afflicting poor populations. The draft decision was modified
overnight to address concerns that the agreed path assess projects on their
success in finding alternatives, allow coverage of all types of disease,
and not exclude other possibilities in the future.

The adopted decision, A67/B/CONF./2 Rev.1, is available

The 67th World Health Assembly is taking place from 19-24 May. The
committee decision is expected to go to the full WHO membership for
approval at the closing plenary of the Assembly later today.

The issue comes in the context of the “Follow-up of the report of the
Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing
and Coordination” (CEWG).

The decision includes the possibility of establishing “a pooled fund for
voluntary contributions towards research and development.” There was an
interest of some delegations to make it mandatory but this was not
successful, sources said.

The adopted version of the decision expands on an earlier version on
indicators for measuring success of “demonstration” projects, and the
decision’s effect on future discussions.

There are four demonstration projects currently underway, and another four
expected to follow, aimed at testing out alternative approaches to
financing R&D for diseases for which there is little economic incentive to

On the indicators, the decision calls for “analysis of the extent of
innovative components being implemented by the projects including
financing, the use of open access models, multisectoral research platforms,
and delinkage, among other criteria.” Delinkage refers to separating drug
prices from the cost of the R&D.

On future discussions, language was added to clarify that the work is
“without prejudice to future discussions in the context of CEWG
recommendations and actions on other sustainable mechanisms for financing
health research and development.”

Another addition clarified that the pooled fund could cover “type III and
Type II and the specific development needs of developing countries, in
relation to type I diseases.” The types of diseases aredefined by

*Type I diseases*: are incident in both rich and poor countries, with large
numbers of vulnerable populations in each.
*Type II diseases*: are incident in both rich and poor countries, but with
a substantial proportion of the cases in poor countries.
*Type III diseases*: are those that are overwhelmingly or exclusively
incident in developing countries.

The concern around disease types arose after the first draft decision
mentioned the WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical
Diseases (TDR). TDR is seen as being limited to type I diseases.

The decision requests the secretariat to further explore the pooled fund
with TDR, but now includes several additional conditions. These include
“recognizing that the scope of the diseases should not be limited to type
III diseases but should be in line with the GSPA-PHI mandate.”

GSPA-PHI refers to the WHO Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public
Health, Innovation and Intellectual
at the 63rd WHA.

The adopted decision also adds: “recognizing the need for a sustainable
financial mechanism for health R&D,” and “recognizing the role of Member
States in the governance of the coordination mechanism.”

The secretariat is requested to report to the next Assembly, through the
January Executive Board meeting.

The adopted version of the decision was proposed by France. The original
version of the draft decision was sponsored by France, Switzerland and
India. It met with some confusion after being read out on 22 May (*IPW*,
WHO, 23 May 2014<http://www.ip-watch.org/2014/05/23/who-wrestles-with-plan-to-pursue-rd-for-neglected-diseases/>

[Update} Reaction

“What was important is that the World Health Organization is creating a
pooled fund for research and development that is based upon delinkage, that
includes not only type III but also type II and some aspects of Type I
diseases,” James Love, president of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI),
told *Intellectual Property Watch*. “Delinkage is being mainstreamed.”

“Delinkage means getting the drugs at generic prices all the time,” Love

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