UNITAID Executive Secretary To Step Down

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The head of Geneva-based UNITAID, an innovative drug purchasing system for the global poor, will leave the post this month.

Executive Secretary Jorge Bermudez will complete his four-year term of office on 30 June.

UNITAID, which is affiliated with the World Health Organization, is a drug-purchasing mechanism based on long-term funding commitments and the purchase of high volumes of medicines and diagnostics. It is known for its funding through a fee on airline tickets among member countries. The original members are: Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom. UNITAID was responsible for launching the Medicines Patent Pool, which is now separate.

Bermudez was appointed as UNITAID executive secretary in July 2007. He previously was unit chief for Essential Medicines, Vaccines and Health Technologies at the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, DC and director of the Brazilian National School of Public Health. He has published several books dealing with public health and access to medicines. Bermudez is a medical doctor and holds a master’s degree in tropical medicine and a doctorate in public health.

Bermudez will be going to the quasi-governmental Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro as vice-president for production and innovation in health. His replacement at UNITAID will be announced shortly, according to a UNITAID spokesperson, after a selection process has taken place.

Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

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