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.

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

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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.

Review Of WHO Mechanism To Fight Substandard Medicines Postponed Until 2017

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World Health Organization delegates today agreed in committee to postpone until 2017 the review of a mechanism that had been set up to help countries deal with substandard and fake medicines.

WHO Debates Plan To Fight Antibiotic Resistance

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World Health Organization members this week are debating a plan to address the global problem of increasing resistance to existing antibiotics and the lack of new treatments to replace them. Today, discussions on antimicrobial resistance went to informals to try to resolve outstanding issues.

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

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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.

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.