[Ip-health] UACT Comments to DHHS on WHA: Agenda Item 13.4 Assessment of Progress in Prevention & Control of NCDs

Manon Ress manon.ress at keionline.org
Mon May 11 10:36:44 PDT 2015


UACT Comments to DHHS on WHA: Agenda Item 13.4 Assessment of Progress in
Prevention & Control of NCDs

To prepare for the upcoming 68th World Health Assembly (WHA), the U.S.
Department of Health & Human Services held a Stakeholder Listening Session
on Friday, May 8, 2015, from 10:30am - 12pm in the HHS Humphrey Building -
200 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20201.
All Agenda items for the upcoming WHA are here:

Jimmy Kolker, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs was chairing the
panel. The room was quite full with 75 people registered. I also heard that
the US delegation will be quite large for the WHA. Note that written
comments are welcomed and encouraged (send these to the same email address:
OGA.RSVP at hhs.gov.)
Please find below my oral statement:

Good morning. I am speaking today on behalf of the Union for Affordable
Cancer Treatment, UACT, a non profit and volunteer organization focusing on
the affordability of cancer treatments globally.

I will address two points during the session under agenda item 13.
Noncommunicable diseases. More specifically 13.4 Follow-up to the 2014
high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to undertake a
comprehensive review and assessment of the progress achieved in the
prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases.

"Non communicable diseases" are well known to all, we are talking about
cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases diabetes and cancer.
According to WHO, NCDs already disproportionately affect low- and
middle-income countries where nearly three quarters of NCD deaths - 28
million - occur. UACT focuses on cancer which affect according to the CDC
14 million people who learn each year they have cancer, and 8 million
people die from the disease.

I will refer to Document A68/11

My first point:
UACT members were encouraged by two paragraphs in the document A68/11 Annex
1 on page 17 under the heading Moving forward: international commitment.
The paragraph 34 reiterate the commitment to promote:
QUOTE a sound and balanced intellectual property rights system, which is
important, inter alia, for the development of new medicines, as recognized
in the Doha Declaration on the WTO Agreement on TRIPS and Public Health END

Which was followed by (in paragraph 35 by):

[...]the right to use, to the fullest extent, the provisions contained in
the WTO Agreement on TRIPS, the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and
Public Health, the decision of the General Council of the WTO of 30 August
2003 on the implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration, and,
when formal acceptance procedures are completed, the amendment to article
31 of the TRIPS Agreement, which provide flexibilities for the protection
of public health, and in particular to promote access to medicines for all
and encourage the provision of assistance to developing countries in this
regard; END OF QUOTE

In the psychology world, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or
discomfort experienced when there are two or more contradictory beliefs,
ideas, or values at the same time. In public policy these "contradictions"
between statements at best perceived as unnecessary inconsistencies. In the
public health world these contradictions have dire consequences.

UACT is asking why all these affirmations about lawful flexibilities are
translated -for example-, into pressure on the Indian government to not
issue a compulsory licence on a life saving drugs for Leukemia patients
which is priced at an unreachable level for most people on earth and
certainly for Indian citizens.

UACT is asking why, why is the US government pretending to respect the
flexibilities for protection of public health in one document but not in
trade agreements or through trade pressures?

Secondly, I will comment and make a proposal concerning the Work Plan in
Annex 3. titled " Proposed work plan for the global coordination mechanism
on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases covering the
period 2016-2017"

Five excellent objectives for 2013- 2020 are outlined in the document. They
can be summarized as 1) advocacy for and raising awareness of the urgency
for a global action plan regarding non communicable disease, 2)
dissemination of knowledge and sharing information based on scientific
evidence and best practices, 3) provision of a forum to identify barriers
and share innovative solutions and actions 4) to advance multisectoral
action by identifying and promoting sustained actions across sectors that
can contribute to and support the implementation of the global action plan
and 5) to identify and share information on existing and potential sources
of finance and cooperation mechanisms at local, national, regional and
global levels for the global action plan 2013-2020.

All members should be able to attend the following 4 roundtables including:

Round table 1 which is about how can governments mobilize sectors beyond
government and increase domestic and international financing for the
prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases
Round table 2 which is about reducing risk factors and (again) how to
involve all government departments, as well as civil society and the
private sector
Round table 3 is about how could the governments engage civil society and
the private sector to respond through people-centred primary care and
universal health coverage.
and Round table 4 asks how could governments mobilize civil society and the
private sector to monitor trends and evaluate progress.

UACT would like to propose a 5th round table which could focus on two
possible government approaches to enable a better and more efficient
control of noncommunicable disease cost. The first question would be how to
achieve transparency of the cost of R&D and the second question how to
implement cost effective and affordable mechanisms to delink the cost of
R&D to the price of cancer treatments to reach a level of sustainability in
health systems globally.

Manon Ress, Ph.D.
Knowledge Ecology International, KEI
manon.ress at keionline.org, tel.: +1 202 332 2670
KEI needs your support. Donations to KEI are tax deductible, under
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