WHA Agrees On Recommendations To Reinvigorate Plan Of Action To Boost R&D, Access 25/05/2018 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 2 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)Ten years after the adoption of a World Health Organization plan of action meant to stimulate innovation for diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries, and with very little to show for it since, delegates at the World Health Assembly this week agreed to a number of recommendations to reinvigorate the effort. How to finance the implementation of those recommendations, however, is unclear. 71st World Health Assembly plenary meeting The 71th World Health Assembly (WHA) is taking place from 21-26 May. WHO delegates agreed to adopt a decision recommended by the Executive Board in January on the Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property [pdf] (GSPOA) (IPW, WHO, 26 January 2018). The decision [pdf] adopted in one of the WHA committees, approved this morning by the full membership in plenary, supports a number of recommendations [pdf] by a group of experts having reviewed the GSPA (also known as GSPOA), to be taken by the WHO, and member states over the period 2018-2022. The WHO is requested to report on progress made in implementing the decision in 2020. The proposed budget is not covered within existing resources, and a number of countries remarked on the fact that the financial resources to implement those recommendations are not there yet, such as Argentina, Pakistan, and South Africa. According to the WHO, the full budget for the 33 recommendations is estimated at US$31.5 million over the period 2018-2022. If only the prioritised recommendations were to be implemented, this budget would be brought down to US$16.3 million. Argentina said countries need a clearer idea of budget needs, calling for the WHO to present innovative funding suggestions, in particular for the prioritised recommendations. India also said the primary hurdle in the implementation is “the serious lack of funding.” Untying assessed contributions “would go a long way” to free funds. Canada also asked for a full cost implication for WHO of the recommendations, and Colombia asked that increased efforts be deployed to guarantee the implementation of the recommendations. Malaysia stressed the need to strengthen health systems and access to essential medicines, and the establishment of regional procurement institutions. Japan, Germany, Underline Importance of IP Japan said financial and programmatic realities should be taken into account, and noted that improving access to medicines and vaccines requires a comprehensive approach, not only focused on intellectual property rights and drug prices, but also on factors such as national health administration, human resources, and supply systems. Germany underlined the importance of intellectual property rights and patents as incentive for the private sector to invest in research and development, supported the extension of the Medicines Patent Pool to medicines on the WHO Essential Medicines List, and supported the “last mile” supply chain. Zambia said the country recognises the value of intellectual property rights on potential innovation. Use of TRIPS Flexibilities Bolivia advised to take into consideration Article 31 (Other Use Without Authorization of the Right Holder) of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and Panama also mentioned TRIPS and insisted on the necessary balance between public health and intellectual property. Paraguay also mentioned TRIPS flexibilities. Iran underlined the importance of technology transfer to facilitate access to medicines and said patents can present major barriers to access health technology. The Iranian delegate also underlined the recommendation of the GSPOA review on the full use of TRIPS flexibility, and added that health research and development should be health rather than market driven. Iran mentioned the importance of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines (HLP) recommendations, as did India. Brazil advocated for a better price transparency, including for prices of new medicines, such as biopharmaceuticals. Image Credits: William New 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."WHA Agrees On Recommendations To Reinvigorate Plan Of Action To Boost R&D, Access" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.