Global Events Take Aim At Health’s Biggest Enemy: Non-Communicable Diseases26/04/2011 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.Non-communicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes now have a global reach, and are the leading cause of death, according to the World Health Organization, which describes them as an “epidemic.” Once considered problems of rich countries, they now hit low- and middle-income populations the worst, says WHO, but preventive actions could be taken. Meanwhile, civil society is warning about the lack of availability of medications to treat non-communicable diseases in developing countries.In an effort to address this, WHO will launch its Global Status Report on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) tomorrow, at its first global forum on the subject, being held in Moscow on 27 April.The global forum brings together stakeholders to “share views and experiences to date on the challenges and opportunities” in NCDs, in particular for their prevention, treatment and control.One of the objectives of the forum is to understand expectations, roles and contributions of different stakeholders in support of the September 2011 United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs. Another objective is to mobilise a “broader base of stakeholders in support of NCD prevention and control, in particular in developing countries,” WHO said.Following the global forum, the WHO is holding a first Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Noncommunicable Disease Control, co-organised with the Russian Ministry of Health, according to a WHO press release.About 100 health ministers and 150 government delegations will attend the conference, on 28-29 April, according to WHO.The conference seeks to assist an ongoing international campaign to “curb the impacts of cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung diseases,” and support member states’ efforts to develop policies and programmes on healthy lifestyles and NCD prevention.The goal of the conference is to highlight the scale of NCDs and their socio-economic impact, to review international experience on prevention and control, and to provide evidence on needs to boost prevention “as part of national health plans and sustainable development frameworks.”NGOs Call for Safeguarding Generic Medicines ProductionA group of six non-governmental organisations submitted recommendations to WHO member states prior to the meeting. They are calling for “affordable, appropriate, and good quality medicines, vaccines and diagnostics to persons suffering from NCDs in low- and middle-income countries,” according to the recommendations.Knowledge Ecology International, Médecins Sans Frontières, Oxfam, Third World Network, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, and Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network described a shortage of NCD medications in developing countries, even for medicines that are off-patent. Generic medicines production is threatened, they said, as developed countries are seeking to include data exclusivity in free trade agreements with developing countries.In particular, they recommended safeguarding generic production as the most effective way to lower prices, and for member states to use flexibilities enshrined in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).The groups also advised incentivising research and innovation, and called on countries to: adopt strategies which de-link the cost of medicines from the cost of research and development, and apply the concept of prizes as an incentive for innovation in cancer treatment. They also called for the provision of funding to study the feasibility of cancer prize funds in both developed and developing countries. And the NGOs asked for quality assurance so that medicinal products meet WHO quality standards.[Update:] Industry Survey on NCDs AwarenessMeanwhile, industry groups today published the results of a four month survey that found Russian citizens are unaware of their state of health and meanwhile engage in sources of non-communicable diseases such as smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity and lack of exercise.The survey of the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and the International Federation on Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations is available here [pdf].Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)RelatedCatherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Global Events Take Aim At Health’s Biggest Enemy: Non-Communicable Diseases" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.