[Ip-health] WHO CEWG 2016: Statement of Health Action International, Knowledge Ecology International and STOPAIDS

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon May 2 03:25:11 PDT 2016

Submitted by thiru on 2. May 2016 - 12:09

On Monday, 2 May 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened the
2016 open-ended member states meeting of the Consultative Expert Working
Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG). The
2016 is chaired by Bhanu Pratap Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare, Government of India. The Vice-Chair is Tania Dussey-
Cavassini, Vice-Director General, Ambassador for Global Health, Federal
Office of Public Health, Switzerland.

During the morning session, the Chair provided an opportunity for
non-governmental organizations to take the floor to prove a general
statement. The following is the opening statement of Stichting Health
Action International (HAI), Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) and
STOPAIDS. The statement was delivered by Saoirse Fitzpatrick, Advocacy
Officer (STOPAIDS).



On behalf of Stichting Health Action International, Knowledge Ecology
International and STOPAIDS, we thank you, Chair for giving us the floor.

We urge the WHO to exercise leadership in taking forward the work of the
Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development (CEWG), to
reconcile the objectives of stimulating medical innovation and ensuring
access for all.

The CEWG identified the concept of de-linkage as the over-arching principle
in which to secure this objective by de-coupling the cost of R&D from the
price of health technologies including medicines, vaccines and diagnostic
tools. The central recommendation of the CEWG report that Member States
were asked to consider was the development of an agreement on funding R&D.

Since the last CEWG meeting in November 2012, much has happened. Ebola and
Zika have made a resurgence, and governments and health systems all over
the world are struggling to cope with the the high cost of drugs for
cancer, hepatitis C, HIV and rare diseases, and are confronted by the
challenge of growing antimicrobial resistance.

In November 2015, the UN Secretary General established the High Level Panel
on Access to Medicines to remedy “the policy incoherence between the
justifiable rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade
rules and public health in the context of health technologies.”

Likewise, there is a need for policy coherence in the WHO discussions about
R&D. What numerous health groups are calling for are concrete steps to
reform the global systems that fund R&D, so that where there are health
care priorities, governments collaborate to ensure there is robust and and
sustainable funding for R&D, and also that the costs of R&D are
progressively delinked from the prices of products.

The Global Observatory can and should play a role in improving the
transparency of markets for pharmaceuticals, including by providing data on
research and development funding, by sources and targets, as well as
shedding light on the costs associated with conducting clinical trials and
other costs associated with the development of drugs, vaccines and
diagnostic tests.

It is challenging but important for the WHO to reach consensus on the
modalities for discussions about new agreements on funding R&D. In our
view, the parties should show flexibility on many issues, including the
nature of the instrument or instruments that would be considered. What is
important is for governments to agree to build models for funding R&D that
do not rely on high prices, and that public health needs should shape
funding priorities.

More information about the Ip-health mailing list