Panel: Compulsory Licensing Could Address High-Priced Medicines In Europe

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The high prices of medicine, which affects access to affordable medicine, was a theme of the annual World Health Assembly over the past week. In one side event, a panel discussed compulsory licensing as a vehicle to be used in combatting the high prices of medicine, not only in developing countries, but in Europe.

World Health Assembly Concludes With Actions On Range Of Issues

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The 68th World Health Assembly (WHA), which took place from 18-26 May, was characterised as one of the most successful annual assemblies ever by Margaret Chan, World Health Organization director general. From the standpoint of intellectual property, access and innovation, this may be debatable. Below is a guide to the main accomplishments highlighted by Intellectual Property Watch.

These include: action plans to fight antibiotic resistance and to boost vaccinations, extension of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPA), incremental progress on alternative research and development for neglected diseases, status of the pandemic influenza preparedness framework, response to emergencies like Ebola, and WHO’s relationship with lobbyists and donors.

WHO Engagement With Non-State Actors: No Deal This Year, Work To Continue

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The annual World Health Assembly closed today following a decision to postpone for one year completion of a new policy on the UN agency’s engagement with industry, foundations and other “non-state actors.”

WHA Committees Approve Plans On Antimicrobial Resistance, Vaccines, Innovation

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Photo credit: Eimear Murphy

Today, member states in committee at the World Health Assembly adopted the first global plan of action to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance, and a global plan of action on vaccines. In addition, a mechanism on public health, innovation and intellectual property was postponed until 2022, and a deadline for its evaluation moved to 2018.

WHA 68: Experts Discuss Delinking R&D Costs From Pricing To Make Medicines Affordable

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The problem of drug prices eating up national health budgets has been coming up at the annual World Health Assembly. Last week, a panel of experts discussed the merits of lowering those prices by delinking research and development costs from pricing.

Lisbon Members Near Completion Of New Act On Geographical Indications

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[Update: the new Act has been adopted. More to come.] After a week of drafting, a handful of World Intellectual Property Organization members – with often divergent input from other WIPO members – are close to concluding a new international agreement on the protection of geographical indications.

Did The WHO Just Invite Corporates To Set Health Policy?

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From the New Minute: The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr. Margaret Chan has invited the private sector, civil society and academia among others, to join a dialogue on how non-state players can work with the global body to enhance public health work. A leading voice in this configuration is the United States-based Global Health Council (GHC) whose strong and spirited response to the invitation has set the cat among the pigeons in some countries (including reportedly with India) and certain sections of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

WHA68: Global Vaccine Plan Lagging; New Proposal To Lower Prices

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An assessment of the World Health Organization Global Vaccine Action Plan aimed at delivering vaccination to all and boosting research into new vaccines found implementation to be “far off-track” in some areas. Today at the World Health Assembly, Libya put forward a new proposal at the Assembly to reduce vaccine prices and increase availability in developing countries.

World Health Assembly Opens: Time Of Change At WHO; G-7 Involved

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at WHA 68

“The Ebola outbreak shook this organization to its core,” World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan said in opening the WHO’s annual assembly today. And the need to better construct the world’s emergency response systems has the biggest economies on the podium, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking as chair of the Group of 7.

WHO Leads Effort To Build R&D Roadmap For Future Epidemics

Panel Chair Barbara Stocking, photo credit John Zaracostas

The World Health Organization is working to learn from the fast response on research and development for Ebola that led to effective treatments in a short time. It hopes that this changes the way R&D for emergency vaccines is done forever.