New Proposal To Extend WHO Action Plan On Innovation, IP Rights 27/01/2015 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment 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)At the World Health Organization Executive Board today, a group of countries tabled a proposal to extend the WHO plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property until 2022. Yesterday, the Executive Board took note of the WHO Global Vaccine Action Plan while some countries remarked on issues of affordability and accessibility. And today, one of the key discussions of the week – on the engagement of WHO with lobbyists, donors, and other interested non-governmental parties – began. Meanwhile, a new director for the WHO regional office for Africa was elected, and the director for the regional office for Europe re-elected for a second mandate. The WHO Executive Board (EB) is meeting from 26 January to 3 February. It is composed of 34 members, which are elected for three-year terms. Today, after a closed session, the plenary heard the results of the election of Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, from Botswana, to serve a five-year term starting on 1 February as the director for the WHO regional office for Africa. Moeti succeeds Luis Gomes Sambo, who served two terms. Moeti was the deputy regional director, and later, coordinator of the Inter-Country Support Team for the South and East African countries of WHO African Region, according to the WHO. She said she has experienced with WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS, and the Bostwana Ministry of Health. Zsuzsanna Jakab, current director for the WHO regional office for Europe, was re-elected for another five-year mandate. The nomination of Moeti brings to five (a majority) the number of women heading regional WHO offices. Proposal to Extend GSPA-PHI In 2008, following a two-year negotiation process, the Sixty-first World Health Assembly adopted the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPA-PHI). According to the WHO, “The aim of the strategy is to promote new thinking on innovation and access to medicines and to secure an enhanced and sustainable basis for needs-driven essential health research and development relevant to diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries.” In 2009, the WHO director general was requested to conduct a programme review of the GSPA-PHI in 2014 “on its achievements, remaining challenges and recommendations on the way forward to the Health Assembly in 2015 through the Executive Board,” according to WHO. Argentina, Brazil, India, and South Africa tabled a draft decision [pdf] today to extend the time frame of the GSPA-PHI until 2022. To prepare for the review, the WHO issued a document [pdf] on the evaluation of the GSPA-PHI for the EB, outlining the steps to produce a comprehensive independent evaluation to be submitted in 2017. The EB was requested to note the document, and agree to the proposed timeline of the evaluation, which spans from January 2015 with the establishment of the evaluation management group, to January 2017 and May 2017 when the evaluation report is to be submitted to the EB and the World Health Assembly. According to the WHO document, “the Secretariat will ensure the involvement of relevant stakeholders throughout the evaluation process.” The draft resolution tabled by the four countries requests that the evaluation management group will be composed of four member states from each region, in a transparent manner. Global Vaccine Action Plan, Vaccines too Expensive The Executive Board on 26 January took note of the assessment report [pdf] on the Global Vaccine Action Plan prepared by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunisation yesterday. The group reviewed progress against each of the indicators for the goals and strategic objectives of the plan. The report noted that “The affordability and supply of vaccines need to be urgently examined. Each may be causing a significant problem for a large number of countries, and the current lack of proper information hinders understanding and corrective action.” The group of experts recommended that “Countries are requested to change the rules of the game on vaccine affordability, to create transparency which is in their interest. They can do this by making pricing information publicly available, and by collaborating with WHO and all technical agencies to develop solutions.” Several countries commented on the need for accessibility and affordability of vaccines, such as Kuwait, China, Iran, Argentina, Colombia, and Thailand. Australia said it was concerned about the sustainability of vaccine financing. Some countries also remarked on the challenges to vaccine uptake due to anti-vaccine movements. The United States remarked on progress made in Africa where there has not been a reported poliomyelitis case in six months, and in the Middle East where no cases have been reported in the last nine months. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) said in its statement that “Achieving these goals [Global Vaccine Action Plan] requires an enabling environment that is conducive to technological innovation.” “Such an environment provides adequate regulatory and investment policies, while facilitating access through ensuring demand predictability, volume commitments, and uptake of a broad range of vaccines,” the IFPMA representative said. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) mentioned a new report released on 20 January called, “The Right Shot: Bringing down barriers to affordable and adapted vaccines,” which, the organisation said in their statement, is underlining the fact that the overall price of vaccines is “rising astronomically.” “The lowest publicly-available prices show that the price of fully vaccinating a child has increased by 6,700% over the past 13 years,” the MSF representative said, with new vaccines being the most expensive. The three newest vaccines (against pneumonia, diarrhoea and human papillomavirus) “now account for 86 percent of the total price of the full WHO-recommended vaccines package,” she said. Discussion on Non-State Actors The discussion on a draft framework on the involvement of WHO with non-state actors, including private sector lobbyists, philanthropists and non-governmental organisations, has started and is expected to unfold today. According to the Board president, some countries would be willing to approve of the draft framework as it stands while some other countries, mainly developing countries, feel that additional work is needed with amendments to be made. Argentina today tabled a draft decision [pdf] on the framework of engagement with non-state actors. The draft decision underlines the “importance of recognizing the right of Member States to participate in the drafting of the Framework of engagement with non-State actors, by facilitating and delivering input directly so that the Framework can be approved by the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in 2015.” The draft decision also highlights “the need to immediately establish a drafting process, in close consultation with, and open to, all Member States, no later than February 2015.” The United States suggested in their intervention that a drafting group be established this week so that a consolidated draft be ready for the May World Health Assembly. South Africa remarked that a number of comments by countries have not been fully incorporated in the draft framework. The South African delegate also said that the document is descriptive and needs further work to bring clarity, in particular clear boundaries and criteria. 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."New Proposal To Extend WHO Action Plan On Innovation, IP Rights" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.