World Health Assembly: Committee Breaks Deadlock On Poor Quality Meds Mechanism 26/05/2013 by Rachel Marusak Hermann, Intellectual Property Watch 3 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Breaking six months of deadlock, World Health Assembly members reached a compromise in committee on the issue of which country should preside over the global mechanism on poor quality medicines by supporting Brazil’s proposal to rotate the steering committee chairmanship. The Assembly will likely approve the decision. During a 24 May committee meeting of the 66th WHA, meeting from 20-28 May, members gave the mechanism on substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products new life by supporting a proposal to rotate the steering committee chairmanship. The decision is included in the third draft report of Committee B (A66/71), which reads: The Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly, Having considered the report on substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products, decided to recommend that the chairmanship of the Steering Committee on the Member State mechanism on substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products operate on the basis of rotation, on an interim basis, without prejudice to the existing terms of reference for the mechanism. Progress on the SSFFC mechanism – mandated to take on the problem from a public health perspective, not taking into account intellectual property or trade aspects – has been blocked since its first meeting in Buenos Aires last November. As member states could not agree on a chairperson, a formal meeting of the steering committee could not take place. As agreed during the first mechanism meeting, the regional groups were to agree among themselves on naming the chair. One delegate told Intellectual Property Watch that Nigeria was particularly keen to head the mechanism, but the country’s persistence was opposed by a number of member states. An article published in the Guardian Nigeria delves into the intrigue, suggesting that India posed the most pushback, as the position could boost the country’s ability to gain independence in drug production as several Nigerian drug manufacturers seek WHO-prequalification status. During the committee meeting, chaired by Kathryn Tyson of the UK, many member states lamented the mechanism’s slow pace and were quick to back Brazil’s proposal. A delegate from the UK, speaking on behalf of the European region, said that the lack of agreement on procedural issues impacted “WHO’s credibility as a serious actor in these issues.” Speaking on behalf of his own country, the same delegate referenced the dangerous influx of fake anti-malarial drugs in Africa to underline the urgency of the issue. The Assembly will likely adopt the decision to rotate the chairmanship, which will allow the mechanism’s work to move forward. As described in the SSFFC report (A66/22), an open-ended working group to identify the actions, activities, and behaviours that result in SSFFC medical products should be held soon after this Assembly. Additionally, an informal technical consultation and a steering committee meeting to work on the mechanism work plan are slated to convene in Geneva in July. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Rachel Marusak Hermann may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."World Health Assembly: Committee Breaks Deadlock On Poor Quality Meds Mechanism" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.