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[e-drug] Global Technical Consultative Meeting on Health R&D

E-DRUG: Global Technical Consultative Meeting on Health R&D

[Two press statements about the recently completed selection of health 
R&D projects by the Global Technical Consultative Meeting hosted by WHO 
- one from Health Action International and one from MSF. A key objective 
behind the process has been to try and find innovative solutions to fund 
R&D in recognition that the current patent system with private research 
and profit interests does not (always) serve the interests of public 
health. Both statements are negative and do not suggest that this 
objective will be addressed. Cross-posted from IP-Health. DB]

The Status Quo Wins Again: Selected R&D demonstration projects 
disappoint, offer little progress

Geneva, December 2013- On December 4-5, experts at a Global Technical 
Meeting, hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), selected 
biomedical research and development (R&D) 'demonstration projects' to go 
forward and receive financing. This is an outcome of the process that 
resulted from the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Public Health 
Innovation and Intellectual Property, now referred to as the 
Consultative Expert Working Group on Financing and Coordination on R&D 
(CEWG). The purpose of demonstration projects are to test new R&D 
approaches that enhance needs-driven R&D and access to results that can 
be used on a large scale.

The Global Technical Meeting was the result of a process that reflected 
a compromise; the demonstration projects would provide an initial step 
away from the R&D framework status quo, which has been identified as 
failing global health, towards a multilateral framework that is just, 
inclusive and driven by health needs, rather than monopoly profits and 
ensures worldwide access to innovative medicines. A key element of this 
compromise process was that the demonstration projects would be used to 
validate alternative mechanisms to incentivise needs-driven R&D, which 
would ensure product affordability and access to the results of R&D, but 
avoid market exclusivity through intellectual property rights rewards.

At the World Health Assembly in May 2013, Member States agreed that 
demonstration projects should incorporate two core principles identified 
as key to the enhancement of needs-driven, affordable innovation: 
firstly, open knowledge innovation and, secondly, the de-linkage of the 
costs of R&D from the price of the final product.

The eight projects that have now been selected, although perfectly 
scientifically sound, do not divert from the R&D status quo and will 
demonstrate little, at best, and, nothing, at worst, in terms of 
establishing new innovation models that use alternative incentives to 
the current monopoly driven model.

Innovative proposals, disruptive to the status quo, did actually make 
the 22-proposal shortlist, but were eliminated in the final selection 
exercise in Geneva and will not go forward. At first sight, this appears 
to be the direct result of the criteria used for selection; however, 
whether the demonstration project would test a new approach to R&D was 
only used as a third-level criterion for selection. This is unfortunate 
and Health Action International is deeply disappointed with the result. 
It is difficult to imagine what lessons the selected demonstration 
projects will offer the current system of global health R&D. They will 
certainly not contribute to the search for a structural solution to the 
current failure of global health R&D.

Health Action International
For more information please contact Policy Advisor Tessel Mellema: 
Tessel Mellema
Policy Advisor

Health Action International (HAI) Europe
Overtoom 60(II)
1054 HK Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 683 3684
Mobile: +31 (0) 62 468 67 71
Email: tessel@haieurope.org<mailto:tessel@haieurope.org>

MSF responds to the outcome of the Global Technical Consultative Meeting
on Identification of Health R&D Demonstration Project


On December 4-5, WHO held a Global Technical Consultative Meeting on 
Identification of Health R&D Demonstration Projects to select the final
list of projects to be taken forward to WHO Executive Board and World 
Health Assembly in January and May 2014.  The group considered 22 projects
that had been recommended by WHO member states through a regional 
selection process.

Two proposals submitted by MSF, one on developing new tuberculosis 
regimens, and a second on developing a multiplex, open source fever
diagnostic, were included in the shortlist of 22 projects, but were 
ultimately not selected to be taken forward.  Although MSF was
disappointed with this outcome, it is not our primary concern.  MSF is 
primarily concerned that the process has failed to achieve the fundamental
and principal mandate of this initiative and of the larger Consultative 
Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and
Coordination (CEWG) process, which is to test new models of innovation 
that challenge the status quo, and, for example, incorporate the
principles of open innovation and de-linkage. Statement from Rohit 
Malpani, Director of Policy and Analysis for MSF’s Access Campaign:

“MSF doctors in the field witness everyday how the medical innovation
system is failing to meet many urgent health needs. This process was meant
to be one step towards addressing that failure, and its particularly
alarming to see that it has gone so dramatically off-track.

What we wanted was the first stepping stones for change, namely projects
that fulfilled the mandate of the CEWG to test new models of innovation.
We are therefore disappointed that the process actually failed to
prioritize critical recommendations of the CEWG relating to new models of
innovation as primary criteria for consideration.

It is therefore unclear whether WHO’s attempts to work backwards and fix
the projects that have been selected is an appropriate approach. MSF
calls for Member States and WHO, building upon the efforts of the Expert
Committee and prior to the 2014 WHA, to put delinkage and transformative
models of innovation back into the heart of the process.”

Michelle French
Communications Officer
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) - Access Campaign
Office: +1.212.763.5735 | Mobile: +1.646.552.4600
michelle.french@newyork.msf.org | Skype: michellejfrench
www.msfaccess.org | twitter.com/MSF_access | www.facebook.com/MSFaccess
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