[Ip-health] Delegates reach agreement on transparency resolution at WHA

James Love james.love at keionline.org
Sat May 25 10:53:57 PDT 2019

The meeting just finished. I have not seen the final text. Lots of
compromises were made to accommodate countries that are protecting drug
companies, so one should wait to see the actual agreement before making too
many judgments.   It will have considerable progress in some areas,
including but not limited to price transparency, itself a very important
issue, and one that has been going in the wrong direction in recent years.
This was a priority for several countries, and perhaps the issue most
concrete to many negotiators.

One of the biggest challenges was on the costs of clinical trials, and here
I expect the text to be pretty disappointing, on a very important topic.
Pretty shocking that some countries, like US, Switzerland, Germany, the UK,
Japan, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, sought to block
language that would "urge" countries to require disclosure of clinical
trial costs, and I am waiting to see what if anything was done on
disclosure and reporting of government R&D subsidies.

I'm told the resolution does have a reference to "data on inputs throughout
the value chain, including on clinical trial data and price information,"
which is not very strong, to say the least.

If governments like the US, the UK and the Netherlands are complaining
about high prices on drugs for cancer and rare diseases, why not have the
cost of trials data that would greatly improve their bargaining power?

There are several other issues in the resolution that were also subject to
many brackets on Friday morning, and like everyone else, we are anxious to
see what was resolved on clinical trial outcomes, patent landscapes,
revenues, units sold, manufacturing know-how, and the modalities of moving

Everyone else has left the Palais des Nations, and I think I will too.


James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
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U.S. office phone +1.202.332.2670
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