E-DRUG: Health Action International Response to UN HLP Report on Access to
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bobbi Klettke <email@example.com>