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    WHO Plan For Pandemic Flu Proceeds With Questions

    Published on 28 January 2013 @ 8:41 am

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The World Health Organization has not completed negotiations with companies on a formula for contribute toward the new WHO framework for pandemic influenza. But companies are paying to access the virus anyway.

    In its meeting this week, the WHO Executive Board has addressed a range of issues such as pandemic influenza, but so far it has delayed discussion on another contentious topic: substandard/counterfeit medical products.

    The 132nd WHO Executive Board meeting is taking place from 21-29 January (IPW, WHO, 21 January 2013). All Executive Board documents are here.

    On the issue of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework, Executive Board members on the evening of 24 January discussed and took note of the report (EB132/16) from the PIP advisory group.

    WHO’s Keiji Fukuda said the negotiations on industry payment methodology are “heavy discussions” involving CEOs and legal entities. He said a “lot of headway” was made in 2012, including with vaccines makers and biotech companies, but as they did not conclude by year’s end, contributions commenced based on market share without a methodology in place.

    Chan said industry said it wanted to start paying now and work out the methodology later, and she was advised to accept. Discussions on methodology are continuing. Chan also said the key to the PIP is “transparency and speed.”

    The PIP advisory group met in October, and discussions are being held with pharmaceutical industry representatives, civil society members, and other stakeholders to move toward a recommendation on the formula for partnership contributions to determine payment modalities for influenza virus sharing.

    The group report said negotiations to sign the standard material transfer agreement 2 (SMTA 2) – a contract that allows the sharing of viruses with entities outside of the traditional WHO system – were being held with as many as six large influenza manufacturers. This week, the WHO announced a deal with GlaxoSmithKline for the first SMTA 2. WHO is seeking legal support from members to help with these agreements.

    Ties are being made between fighting future pandemic flu, like the bird or so-called “swine” flu of recent years, and seasonal vaccines. Seasonal vaccine production has increased from 350 million doses in 2006 to about 900 million doses in 2009, with estimates of capacity in 2011 of about 1.4 billion million doses, the report said. Some countries on 24 January called for accelerated manufacturing capacity in developing countries.

    Several countries asked for more detail on capacity building efforts, such as regional production, and doses and tracking of contributions, who benefits and what funds are used for. A developing country supported recommendations of the advisory group relating to recipients outside the existing WHO network, and emphasised the importance of predictability.

    A representative of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) said US$18 million in contributions have been made by its members to the PIP Framework, and called for a consultative approach. A representative of Medicus Mundi called for better transparency, including on participants in the negotiations with the private sector, and urged assurance that companies getting access to the materials would not be able to appropriate them and not share.

    Developing countries have frequently expressed concern that if they share their virus strains with the WHO network, they may not benefit from any resulting treatments that are developed, or may be forced to pay high prices for them if a northern company gets a patent.

    Fake Medicines Debate Postponed

    The contentious (and hard to pronounce) issue of “substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products” (SSFFC) came up on Friday but was quickly requested by Australia and the United States to be put off to Monday. No reason was given, but some sources said it is related to the selection of a chair for the process. The last meeting was chaired by a Nigerian ambassador, but a new chair is being chosen. According to the report of the last meeting, WHO regional groups were to agree on a chairperson by 15 January. Vice-chairs were also to be submitted by the regions by that date.

    The Executive Board is expected to review the report (EB132/20) of the first meeting of the member state mechanism on SSFFC products, which met in Buenos Aires last November (IPW, WHO, 22 November 2012). The member state mechanism agreed on a plan to strengthen regulatory capacities and form a steering committee to monitor country compliance to the plan.

    Too Much Earmarked Funding

    In other developments during the week, Chan said that a key programme on international health regulations (IHRs) is going to be cut for lack of funding. The problem, she said, is that so much of WHO funding is earmarked by the donor for specific purposes, that WHO has no funds that can be moved to non-earmarked priorities. “It’s a catch-22,” she said. “Extremely important work, unfunded.”

    Meanwhile, the United States delegate said of the IHRs that it is “hard to imagine a more important mandate for the WHO.” And in the United States’ opening statement to the week, it said, “Moving toward a more transparent budgeting system does not mean that Member States should begin to micro-manage the organization. We must give the DG the authority to use WHO’s resources to undertake the work we have set out in the GPW [General Program of Work], and the discretion to make changes to budgets when needed.”

    Sources and earmarking of funding is a key issue in the debates over the future independence of the WHO (IPW, WHO, 25 January 2013).

    William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. WHO Plan For Pandemic Flu Proceeds With Questions – Intellectual Property Watch « Today In Scope says:

      [...] WHO Plan For Pandemic Flu Proceeds With QuestionsIntellectual Property WatchThe World Health Organization has not completed negotiations with companies on a formula for contribute toward the new WHO framework for pandemic influenza. But companies are paying to access the virus anyway. In its meeting this week, the WHO … [...]

    2. WHO Executive Board Concludes After ‘Unpredecented’ Workload | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] On the WHO Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework, Executive Board members discussed and took note of the report, EB132/16 [pdf], from the PIP advisory group (IPW, WHO, 28 January 2013). [...]

    3. Avoiding Pandemic Fatigue: Financing Pandemic Preparedness and Response | The RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies' Blog says:

      [...] using the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) have contributed USD 18 million to the WHO through a partnership contribution mechanism under the framework. In December 2012, the [...]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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