UN Launches High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines 16/12/2015 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 5 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)A United Nations high-level panel of experts has set a process in motion to find solutions to increase access to medicines. Following its first meeting last week, the panel will call for proposals to recommend solutions that can promote innovation, but preserve human rights and public health interests. The United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines held its first meeting in New York on 11 December. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the UN Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with UNAIDS, to serve as the Secretariat for the High Level Panel. According to a press release, the panel “committed itself to finding solutions that will increase access to medicines, while continuing to promote investment in new treatments to save the lives of millions.” The panel’s webpage explains that its proposed objective is “to review and assess proposals and recommend solutions for remedying the policy incoherence between the justifiable rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health in the context of health technologies.” “Panellists noted that despite progress made in many areas, millions of people are still left behind. Many are dying because they cannot access life-saving medicines,” according to the press release. “In particular, 1.2 million people died for AIDs in 2014, and over 400 million people have hepatitis B and C, and 1,4 million people have died from those illnesses, while 38 million people have died from non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. The press release mentions sofosbuvir, a hepatitis C cure, which costs some US$84,000 per patient and regimen in the United States, and said treatments for cancer in the US and other high-income countries are rising, with for example 11 of the 12 cancer drugs in the US costing at least US$100,000 per year per patient. A UNAIDS press release said: “Generic competition in the pharmaceutical industry, fostered by the use of flexibilities in the application of intellectual property has helped make life-saving HIV medicines much more affordable and allowed the massive scale-up of HIV treatment programmes.” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said in the release, “Governments and the private sector have a responsibility to ensure that medicines are accessible to everybody.” He added “The AIDS response is proof that access to affordable and effective medicines can halt and reverse an epidemic, contributing to an increase in life-expectancy and healthier communities.” Composition of High-Level Panel Below is the composition of the panel. Co-chairs: Ruth Dreifuss of Switzerland, former president of the Swiss Confederation Festus Gontebanye Mogae of Botswana, former president of Botswana Experts: Andrew Witty of the United Kingdom. chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline Sakiko Fukuda-Parr of Japan, professor of International Affairs at the New School, New York Awn Al-Khasawneh of Jordan, former Prime Minister of Jordan Celso Amorim of Brazil, member of the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance Winnie Byanyima of Uganda, executive director of Oxfam International Shiba Phurailatpam of the UK, director of the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV Malebona Precious Matsoso of South Africa, director general of the National Department of Health Yusuf Hamied of India. He is the non-executive Chairman of Cipla Michael Kirby of Australia, retired Justice of the High Court of Australia Ruth Okediji of Nigeria [and the US], professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School Jorge Bermudez of Brazil, vice-president of Health Production and Innovation, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, (Fiocruz) Kinga Göncz of Hungary, chair of the Roma Advisory Board at the Open Society Foundations Maria Freire of the US, president and executive director of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) Stephen Lewis of Canada, co-founder and co-director of the advocacy organisation AIDS-Free World Timeline According to the timeline of the high-level expert panel, two public hearings are expected to take place in March, attended by the High-Level Panel Members, to review and assess shortlisted proposals. In early June 2016, the high-level panel is expected to present its final report to the Secretary-General. High-Level Panel Expert Advisory Group The high-level panel benefits from overall technical support from an Expert Advisory Group. This group includes a number of well-known figures of the area of public health, such as Carlos Correa, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies on Industrial Property and Economics, University of Buenos Aires, and special advisor on trade and intellectual property at South Centre; Dominique Foray, professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; Frederick Abbott, professor of International Law at Florida State University College of Law; Suerie Moon, co-director of the Project on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Manica Balasegaram, executive director of the Access Campaign at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF); and Anthony So, director of the Program on Global Health and Technology Access at the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University. Also sitting on the expert advisory group are “senior technical staff for relevant UN and international organizations,” such as the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization (such as IP Division head Antony Taubman), the World Intellectual Property Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD, such as Christoph Spennemann of the IP Unit), and UNICEF. Image Credits: MSF 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 Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."UN Launches High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.