Technical Meeting Advances Ideas For WHO-Led R&D Financing Framework

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An outside meeting of experts has prepared a report ahead of this month’s gathering of World Health Organization members hoping to agree on new models for financing research and development for diseases lacking adequate market mechanisms and public policies. These include neglected diseases that predominantly affect poor populations unable to pay high prices needed to defray R&D costs under the existing commercial model.

The multi-stakeholder technical meeting report [pdf] contains a range of ideas and suggestions for the way forward in addressing this gap. According to organisers, the meeting was held to explore implementation options recommended by the WHO Consultative Expert Working Group on Research & Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG), which issued its report in April of this year. It follows the recommendation of the CEWG to implement a global framework for R&D through a binding convention.

WHO member states will meet in Geneva on 26-28 November to try to agree on next steps in the CEWG process, as approved by the World Health Assembly last May (IPW, WHO, 25 May 2012).

The technical meeting report lays out issues such as monitoring, coordination, financing, potential forms and types of governance and accountability, and core principles.

The Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED), on behalf of 40 organisations and institutions, sent a letter to the proposed chair of the CEWG calling for non-governmental actors to be able to contribute more fully to the discussions later this month. The letter was reported on the ip-health listserv on 5 November.

The technical meeting group, which met on 16-19 October at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in northern Italy, included top players in the global effort on this issue, participating on their own behalf. Participants came from the public, international organisation, non-governmental and academic sectors but did not appear to include industry.

Meeting attendees, participating on their own behalf, included:

Dr. Viroj Tangcharoensathien (meeting co-organizer) International Health Policy Program, Thailand
Dr. Suerie Moon (meeting co-organizer) Harvard Global Health Institute/School of Public Health, USA
Ms. Pascale Boulet, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), Geneva
Mr. Paulo Cavaleri, Permanent Mission of Argentina to the UN, Geneva
Dr. Philippe Duneton, UNITAID, Geneva
Ms. Maria Lourdes Chamorro Ramos, Delegation of the European Union to the UN, Geneva
Dr. Shing Chang, independent R&D consultant, USA
Ms. Michelle Childs, Médecins Sans Frontières, Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, Geneva
Mr. Robert Eiss, National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center, USA
Ms. Maria Luisa Escorel de Moraes, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN, Geneva
Ms. Guo Lifeng, Ministry of Science and Technology, P.R. China
Mr. Steven Hoffman, Harvard School of Public Health/McMaster University, USA/Canada
Mr. Gopakumar Kappoori, Third World Network, India
Dr. Robert Karanja, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kenya
Ms. Malebona Precious Matsoso, National Department of Health, South Africa
Ms. Susan McAdams, World Bank, USA
Mr. Colin McIff, US Mission to the UN, Geneva
Dr. John Reeder, UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), Geneva
Dr. John-Arne Røttingen, Harvard Global Health Institute/University of Oslo, USA/Norway

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