WHO Debates Plan To Fight Antibiotic Resistance 22/05/2015 by Eimear Murphy for Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments 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)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 upcoming new treatments to replace them. Today, discussions on antimicrobial resistance went to informals to try to resolve outstanding issues. The 68th World Health Assembly (WHA) is taking place from 18-26 May. The WHA is considering a draft global action plan (the draft plan) [pdf] on antimicrobial resistance (the growing resistance to existing antibiotics and lack of research on new ones), and a summary report [pdf] on progress made in implementing resolution WHA 67.25 on antimicrobial resistance (IPW, WHO, 14 May 2015). Member states during the week have raised a number of challenges, as outlined today in committee by Assistant Director-General for Health Security Keiji Fukuda. Some of these issues relate to surveillance and the need to improve prevention through vaccination, as well as the need for: a sound financial base, investment, access to new medicines, better use of existing medicines, and better diagnostic tools. He noted comments from member states such as Thailand and Egypt, who seek more guidance in the implementation of national plans. He stated that the plan is global in scope but the WHO’s top priority is to work with member states in the development of national plans. Fukuda also mentioned the possibility of continuing the discussion in the margins of the UN General Assembly. The draft plan under consideration includes five strategic objectives: (1) to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance; (2) to strengthen knowledge through surveillance and research; (3) to reduce the incidence of infection; (4) to optimize the use of antimicrobial agents; and (5) to ensure sustainable investment in countering antimicrobial resistance. The draft plan considers the need for an increase in investment in new medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and other interventions. It states that most pharmaceutical companies have the view that the research and development of new antibiotics is a “less attractive business investment” than medicines for chronic diseases and further that the cost of investment in R&D may need to be de-linked from price and volumes of sales in order to facilitate equitable and affordable access to vaccines and new medicines. The draft plan is strongly supported by member states and NGOs. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) supports a call for innovative R&D and to ensure that the cost of R&D is de-linked. MSF noted the importance of securing affordable access to medicines and stated that “Now is not the time for business as usual.” The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) said it supports the implementation of consistent regulations to ensure the competent use of antibiotics and spoke of the need to rethink ways of fighting bacteria. Eimear Murphy is a researcher at IP-Watch. She is an LL.M. graduate from American University Washington College of Law in Washington DC with a specialty in Intellectual Property and Information Policy issues. 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 Eimear Murphy may be reached at email@example.com."WHO Debates Plan To Fight Antibiotic Resistance" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.