WHO Calls For Proposals To Finance R&D For Diseases Affecting Developing WorldPublished on 2 May 2011 @ 6:54 pm
By Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch
A call for proposals was launched today by the World Health Organization expert group in charge of making recommendations on ways to encourage and finance research and development for diseases that mostly affect developing countries.
The Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: financing and coordination (CEWG) met last month (IPW, WHO, 8 April 2011) and defined their mandate and work plan.
Proposals will be posted on the CEWG website after the deadline, which is 19 June, according to the WHO. The CEWG is supposed to analyse the proposals and to submit its report at the World Health Assembly in May 2012. The CEWG website is here.
One of the main tasks of the group is to assess proposals for innovative financing of research and development. CEWG succeeds the Expert Working Group (EWG), whose work last year was criticised at the last World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2010 by some member states as being created without transparency, and not addressing the potential threat that intellectual property rights can pose to access to drugs (IPW, WHO, 18 May 2010).
The 2010 WHA set up the CEWG to further the work of the EWG. Administrators have tried to exhibit transparency in the process, though some questions on conflicts of interest were brought up during the selection of the CEWG members.
The EWG had decided to focus on about 20 proposals according to a certain set of criteria. That brought criticism by some, including member states, as to why their proposals had not been considered.
According to the CEWG call for proposals [pdf], the CEWG will assess:
- Any new, or significantly improved or revised, proposals related to the 22 reviewed in the EWG report – submissions to the EWG need not be resubmitted to the CEWG unless substantially different
- Proposals from the 109 screened by the EWG which are thought to deserve further consideration
- Any new or improved proposals not considered by the EWG
The proposals submitted to the CEWG should answer a set of 12 criteria listed in the document as follows:
1. Potential public health impact in developing countries
2. Rational and equitable use of resources/efficiency considerations
4. Technical feasibility, scaling-up potential, replicability, speed of implementation
5. Financial feasibility and sustainability
7. IP management issues
8. Potential for de-linking R&D costs and price of products
9. Equity/distributive effect including on availability and affordability of products
and impact on access and delivery
10. Accountability/participation in governance and decision making
11. Impact on capacity building in, and transfer of technology to, developing countries
12. Potential synergy with other mechanisms/potential for combining with others.
Proposals should not exceed 3,000 words in length, the CEWG said.
Previous proposals included such ideas as: “end” prizes, neglected disease tax breaks for companies, patent pools, purchase or procurement agreements, direct grants to small companies and for trials in developing countries, and removal of data exclusivity.
Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com.