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

essential meds

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.

WHO Advances R&D Financing Effort; Global R&D Observatory To Launch In January

World Health Assembly Committee B

World Health Organization members in committee this week took note of a report by the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG), which was set up to find ways to fund research on diseases afflicting poor populations which have little market incentive for the private sector. The report included a proposal for a voluntary pooled fund that would focus on the development of effective and affordable health technologies for such neglected diseases.

Two UN Agencies Come Out In Support Of Extension Of TRIPS LDC Waiver

medicines mixed

The United Nations Development Programme and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS have issued a joint statement supporting a request by least-developed countries to extend a waiver allowing them to abstain from enforcing patents on pharmaceutical products.

European Council Takes Action To Advance Marrakesh Treaty For Blind Persons

blind reader africa

The European Council of member states yesterday adopted a decision asking the European Commission to draft legislation on Europe’s ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty on increasing access to publications for blind and visually impaired readers.

Five Challenges Filed Against Gilead Patent Claims For Hepatitis C Drug

Sovaldi

Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences has been noted first for developing a treatment for hepatitis C, which afflicts tens of millions around the world, and then for pricing it at jaw-dropping prices ($1000 per pill) in the United States and elsewhere. Now a group of health advocates has challenged Gilead’s patent applications in five emerging economies.

Statement: Blumenthal Offers Amendment On Trade Transparency

confidential

Senators Blumenthal, Brown, Baldwin, and Udall introduced today a trade negotiation transparency bill that would require that all formal U.S. proposals for trade agreement restrictions on domestic regulations be posted on a website. This is a common sense policy that should be broadly supported. The bill would require policies similar to the transparency policies currently followed by the European Union and by intergovernmental organizations that set similar minimum regulatory standards. But it would be a major change in the current process for trade negotiations followed by the U.S. Trade Representative, which are infamously secretive, write Sean Flynn and David Levine.

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

68th World Health Assembly Committee A

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.

US Ponders New Trademark Rights For Racial Slurs

The Slants

Some words are too offensive to be registered trademarks. Racial slurs, derogatory names for ethnic groups, and other terms that disparage people can be denied registration, according to the vast majority of countries. The US, however, might soon back away from this anti-bigotry stance. The nation’s courts may be on the verge of ruling that the registration of derogatory terms is protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech.

Ratification Of Marrakesh Treaty For The Blind Postponed In Europe?

WIPO Marrakesh treaty1

The German Federation of Blind and Partially Sighted today sounded the alarm over another dispute about the “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled”. The German and the Italian governments are blocking a compromise on the path for ratification in the European Union, the Blind Federation said in a press release. The EU Council of Ministers is expected to take a decision on the ratification next week

In ‘Huge’ Move, WHO Adds Key Hepatitis C, Cancer, TB Drugs To Essential Medicines List

happy crowd africa

The World Health Organization today published its updated Model List of Essential Medicines, including high-priced new treatments for hepatitis C, cancers and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) that were quickly applauded by the public health advocacy community.