[Ip-health] EB142: Oxfam statement on WHO’s decision on the Shortage of medicines
mkamalyanni at Oxfam.org.uk
Tue Jan 30 10:13:14 PST 2018
Oxfam would like to thank WHO secretariat for the Shortage of Medicine
document. We would like to focus on one theme which runs across all the
steps of access to medicines, from R&D to pricing, which includes
Intellectual Property issues, the supply chain until it reaches patients.
This theme is transparency.
Most decisions around medicines are shrouded in secrecy. Here are 5
aspects of secrecy that hinder access to medicines:
1. Cost of R&D: how can a national authority decide whether a price
is fair if it does not know the real cost of making the medicine? A figure
given by one study funded by pharmaceutical companies is the only
reference. Yet the high price is justified by unfounded figures.
2. Prices: they vary across countries, set simply at the maximum
which each market can bear. It is difficult for countries to decide on
appropriate prices if they do not know the prices in other jurisdictions.
The HLP report recommends expanding the existing WHO price database to all
medicines in all counties. This requires governments and companies to
provide WHO with accurate price information and requires the WHO being
funded to do this work.
3. Patent information: It is very difficult to get information on who
holds what patent in which country on any medicine! This has a chilling
effect on generic manufacturers for fear of infringing on a patent if they
produce a generic version.
4. Clinical trials: studies have shown that trials that have positive
results have more chances of being published than those that show neutral
or bad side effects. Yet medical guidelines and prescriptions depend on
test results. The WHO has a website but pharma companies have not
populated it yet!
5. FTAs normally include measures that tie governments’ hands from
adopting pro health policies. Yet these agreements are negotiated in
secret. Only occasional leaked drafts reveal what is included. This is not
We urge the EB to support WHO secretariat to strengthen its work on
ensuring transparency in the whole chain of medicines from R&D to
patients’ use in order to ensure that people can access quality and
affordable medicines they need.
Best wishes from Geneva مع أطيب التمنيات من جنيف
Mohga -Dictating to the computer so please forgive silly mistakes
Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni
Senior health & HIV policy advisor, Oxfam GB
Editor of www.globalhealthcheck.org
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UK Mobile + 44 (0)777 62 55 884
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Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering.
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