The Impact Of Derailing The WHO Medical R&D Convention

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By Brittany Ngo for Intellectual Property Watch

An article in the newly launched Journal of Health Diplomacy about the stalled progress at the World Health Organization for a medical research and development (R&D) convention discusses systemic failures in global health policy.

The article [pdf] entitled, “Medical R&D Convention Derailed: Implications for the Global Health System,” features in the launch edition of the journal, and provides commentary by the president of the board of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, and student leaders from the organisation, Johanne Iversen and Unni Gopinathan.

Referring to developments that took place during the 6tth session of the World Health Assembly in May 2012, and the work of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development (CEWG), the authors said that “potentially game-changing proposals to improve access to medicines have been stalled.”

The authors point to critical failures in the global health system, mentioning pharmaceutical industry “co-optation” and a “lack of WHO global health leadership on the R&D convention,” which they said has resulted in ambivalence, political power struggles, and ultimately gridlock on an R&D convention. They also said that a “critical flaw” in the system is the limited capacity for civil society to participate in such policy and decision-making processes.

The May edition of Journal of Health Diplomacy can be found here.

Brittany Ngo is currently completing her Master’s in Health Policy and Global Health at the Yale School of Public Health and previously obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics from Georgetown University. Through her studies she has developed an interest in health-related intellectual property issues. She is a summer intern at Intellectual Property Watch.

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