E-drug: 105th EB adopts resolution on HIV/AIDS
Date: 1/28/2000, 10:58 AM
Re: EB105 adopts HIV/AIDs resolution
I wanted to update you on the WHO-Executive Board (EB) meeting, in
particular, regarding the resolution on HIV/AIDS.
Today the EB endorsed the draft resolution on HIV/AIDS: Confronting
the epidemic. The text will soon be posted on the WHO web. Please
The document will be listed on the left at the bottom as EB105/R..
This resolution will now be recommended for adoption by the World
Health Assembly in May.
The resolution is four pages long and needs to be read in full in order
to understand the context. The sections that are interesting to share
right now are those referring to the trade agreements. This was an
issue for which a drafting group developed alternative wording. The
explanation by Dr. Thomas Novotny that Jamie Love posted on the
Pharm-policy electronic list clarifies the US's concerns with the
original wording and gives some insight on the negotiations.
In the preamble the text now includes:
"Recalling resolution WHA52.19 which inter alia requests the
Director-General to cooperate with Member States, at their request,
and with international organizations in monitoring and analyzing the
pharmaceutical and public health implications of relevant international
agreements, including trade agreements, so that Member States can
effectively assess and subsequently develop pharmaceutical and
health policies and regulatory measures that address their concerns
and priorities, and are able to maximize the positive and mitigate the
negative impact of those agreements"
Under the operative paragraphs it requests the Director- General:
(9) to pursue dialogue with the pharmaceutical industry with a view to
making HIV/AIDS-related drugs increasingly accessible to the
population of Member States through drug development, cost
reduction, and strengthening of reliable distribution systems;
(10) to reinforce, promote, and explore partnerships in order to make
HIV/AIDS-related drugs accessible through affordable prices, adequate
financing and effective health-care systems, and to ensure that drugs
are safely and effectively used;
(11) to cooperate with governments, at their request, and other
international organizations on possible options under relevant
international agreements, including trade agreements, to improve
access to HIV/AIDS-related drugs;
I leave it up to you all to interpret this text. I am puzzled with the
section on partnership (with whom?), but is certainly the buzzword for
the new WHO. I am convinced that the main issue for the NGO
community is to continue to urge countries to use the options they
have under the trade agreements in trying to improve access to
essential drugs. The Thai case shows that this needs action at both
national level and strong support from NGOs elsewhere. At least, as
far as I can see, this resolution does not limit the mandate that the
WHO had obtained with the Revised Drug Strategy resolution last
year. At the EB we have expressed concerns that the WHO so far has
not been very pro-active on implementing this mandate. For a copy of
our interventions please check the HAI website:
Best regards from Geneva,
Bas van der Heide
Coordinator, HAI Europe
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