Workplan Of WHO Group On Neglected Diseases R&D Shows TimelinePublished on 23 May 2011 @ 4:24 pm
By Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch
A World Health Organization expert working group on innovative financing of research and development for diseases particularly affecting developing countries will present its inception report and work plan this week.
The documents will be presented to the 129th session of the WHO Executive Board meeting, taking place on 25 May, after the close of the World Health Assembly (WHA), taking place from 16-24 May. The Board will be asked to take note of the report.
The Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: financing and coordination (CEWG) met from 5-7 April, building upon a previous group whose work was criticised by some member states and stakeholders as lacking transparency and being tainted with conflict of interest.
Conflict of interest arose again in January, during the WHO Executive Board meeting, when Switzerland proposed an industry expert to be a member of the working group who had also authored a proposal for consideration by the group (IPW, WHO, 22 January 2011).
In a particular effort at transparency, the April meeting was partly open to stakeholders and a lot of emphasis was put during the meeting on how to address conflict of interest in the group (IPW, WHO, 8 April 2011).
The group will have to give its final report at the next WHA, in May 2012.
The mandate for the R&D working group was set at the 2010 Health Assembly (IPW, WHO, 21 May 2010).
The CEWG inception report [pdf] gives a detailed account of the April meeting, with a summary of the outcomes of the meeting, on topics such as conflict of interest, the mandate and the scope of work of the working group, and how it will proceed to undertake its mission.
The CEWG will examine a number of proposals for innovative financing mechanisms for research and development. Some of those proposals were already examined by the previous groups, but set aside as not complying with the group’s assessment criteria. New proposals will also be considered. A call for proposals was made on 2 May (IPW, WHO, 2 May 2011), with a deadline of 19 June.
In its report, the CEWG also displays the way it would categorise proposals, under two headings: financing mechanisms, and coordination mechanisms, such as those improving efficiency, networking arrangements, and those with implications that include global governance issues.
The report also lists a number of criteria that should “inform its analysis,” including:
• potential public health impact in developing countries
• rational and equitable use of resources/efficiency considerations
• technical feasibility, scaling-up potential, replicability, speed of implementation
• financial feasibility and sustainability
• intellectual property management issues
• potential for de-linking research and development costs and the price of products
• equity/distributive effect, including on availability and affordability of products and impact on access and delivery
• accountability/participation in governance and decision-making
• impact on capacity building in, and transfer of technology to, developing countries
• potential synergy with other mechanisms/potential for combining with others.
The document also includes the work plan of the CEWG, with the second meeting of the group on 7-8 July, regional consultations and side events during sessions of the WHO regional committees from August to October, the third meeting of the group on 17-18 November, and a progress report for consideration at the WHO 130th session of the Executive Board meeting in January 2012.
Other items on the provisional agenda [pdf] are management and financial matters, with the method of work of the WHO governing bodies, the future sessions of the Executive Board and the Health Assembly. Staffing matters will also be addressed with a statement by the staff associations, amendments to the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules.
All documents can be found here.
Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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