[Ip-health] CDC FOIA shows US, WHO opposed request to discuss UNSG's High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines Report at EB

Zack Struver zack.struver at keionline.org
Tue Feb 28 11:18:19 PST 2017


CDC FOIA shows US, WHO opposed request to discuss UNSG's High-Level Panel
on Access to Medicines Report at EB

Email records and memoranda released by the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC) in response to a Knowledge Ecology International Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) request show that representatives of the World
Health Organization (WHO) and the United States government opposed
including India's proposed agenda item on the United Nations
Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines for discussion
at the 140th WHO Executive Board meeting.

The full set of documents, which was released to KEI without redaction, are
available here:

* All Documents, non-OCR:
* Part 1, OCR: http://keionline.org/misc-docs/hlp/ocr-cdc-hlp-foia1.pdf
* Part 2, OCR: http://keionline.org/misc-docs/hlp/ocr-cdc-hlp-foia2.pdf
* Part 3, OCR: http://keionline.org/misc-docs/hlp/ocr-cdc-hlp-foia3.pdf

The 11 member states of the South East Asia Region — Bangladesh, Bhutan,
South Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka,
Thailand, and Timor-Leste — as well as Brazil, Iran, and South Africa
supported the inclusion of the agenda item.

The agenda item, which was submitted for consideration of the Executive
Board prior to the release of the full high-level panel report, would have
focused on the report in the context of the "constitutional mandate of WHO
on health R&D and access and its central role in coordinating global
efforts for the realization of health related Sustainable Development
Goals," according to an explanatory memoranda released with the records.

CDC's records include a variety of documents, including internal talking
points documents, memoranda, and email conversations that describe
conversations within the WHO.

A detailed memorandum, dated September 28, 2016 set out U.S. positions and
talking points on dozens of the topics to be discussed in a conference call
with the WHO Executive Board, where the agenda for the January 2017 meeting
was discussed. The memo was addressed to Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC
Director and Vice-Chairman of the WHO EB, from the office of Ambassador
Jimmy Kolker, written by Rachel Wood and reviewed by Peter Mamacos.

------- START QUOTE -------

To: Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director
From: Jimmy Kolker, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, OGA
Drafted by: Rachel Wood
Reviewed by: Peter Mamacos, Director of Multilateral Relations
Subject: USG priorities for WHO Executive Board (EB) Bureau call
Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016


8.9 Access to medicines (oppose proposal by India): The USG should be on
the record opposing this proposal from India that seeks to take forward
recommendations from in the UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on
Access to Medicines' report, which was released in September. We have
serious concerns about the narrow mandate of the Panel and its
recommendations, and share the concern expressed by the two Panelists who
come from the research community that warned of unintended negative
consequences of the recommendations.


8.9 Access to medicines (India)

* US. position: oppose; Intervention: required

* Issue: (see background on USG priorities) The U.S. should be on record
opposing inclusion of this item to take forward the recommendations of the
UN High Level Panel. We are concerned the recommendations are likely to
have unintended negative consequences.

* Talking point: USG and other experts involved in biomedical research
(including the only two Panel members from the research community) believe
the Panel's recommendations are likely to result in unintended negative
consequences for biomedical research.

*The High Level Panel report lacks a clear path forward and does not
provide a useful framework upon which WHO or Member States can build.

------- END QUOTE -------

On September 30, 2017, Rachel Wood wrote an email to Joel Stanojevich and
Peter Mamacos, advising them that "Of our priority items . . . WHO
suggested removing India's access to medicines proposal, so Dr. Frieden
didn't need to."

Zack Struver, Communications and Research Associate
Knowledge Ecology International
zack.struver at keionline.org
Twitter: @zstruver <https://twitter.com/zstruver>
Office: +1 (202) 332-2670 Cell: +1 (914) 582-1428

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