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[e-drug] Health Action International Response to UN HLP Report on Access to Medicines

E-DRUG: Health Action International Response to UN HLP Report on Access to 
Medicines
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Dear eDruggers,

In response to the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines report, published 
on 14 September, Tessel Mellema, policy advisor with Health Action 
International, issued the following statement:

"We commend the United Nations for addressing the critical issue of the policy 
incoherence between intellectual property (and related) rights and access to 
safe, affordable and effective and needed health technologies and welcome the 
High-level Panel's report.

We applaud the Panel for recommending alternative innovation models that 
embrace the concept of 'delinkage'. Delinking the costs of R&D from the price 
of a product would create innovation models that incentivise needs-driven R&D, 
and mandate data sharing and affordable access of resulting health technologies.

We also commend the Panel for adding to existing calls for a binding R&D 
Convention that includes a Code of Principles for Biomedical R&D. This 
international framework, also proposed in 2012 by the World Health 
Organization's Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development 
(CEWG), would improve the coordination of global R&D and secure sustainable 
financing mechanisms. It would also implement new incentives for R&D while 
managing outputs in a way that ensures both innovation and access.

We support the Panel's explicit calls for governments to develop strong, 
enforceable policies that: enable data sharing and data access as a condition 
of public grants for R&D; support open models of innovation and a public health 
approach to managing resulting intellectual property; and demand full 
transparency of R&D costs and the amount of public funding received from health 
technology manufacturers and distributors. Without this much-needed 
transparency, any discussion about sustainable medicine prices is not possible.

We also commend the Panel's clear call for governments to make better use of 
the flexibilities laid out in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual 
Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, including compulsory licensing and setting 
patent standards to prevent 'evergreening'. This recommendation is particularly 
important given the ongoing pressure that low- and middle-income countries, in 
particular, receive from the European Union, United States, and other 
countries, such as Switzerland, to forego the flexibilities. TRIPS 
flexibilities help ensure all people, regardless of their socio-economic 
standing, can access the medicines they need.

People's health should come before the profit-driven motivations of the 
pharmaceutical industry. We therefore encourage all government leaders to act 
on the Panel's recommendations and implement ambitious policies that help 
ensure that access to medicines becomes a reality for everyone. The European 
Union, in particular, should consider these recommendations in its upcoming 
review of the Horizon 2020 research agenda.

We also encourage the UN to take these recommendations further and to ensure 
policy coherence with other innovation and access to medicines initiatives, 
including the UN High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance, the WHO Action 
Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, and the WHO Global Strategy and Plan of 
Action on Public Health."

For further information, please contact 
Tessel Mellema at tessel@haiweb.org

Bobbi Klettke <bobbi@haiweb.org>

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