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[e-lek] Access to medicines: lobbying of delegates to WHO's World Health Assembly urgently needed!

From: Claudio Schuftan <cschuftan@phmovement.org>
Date: 6 May 2017 at 05:57
Subject: PHM-Exch> Access to medicines: lobbying of delegates to WHO's
World Health Assembly urgently needed!
To: phm-exchange <phm-exchange@phm.phmovement.org>

From: David G Legge <dlegge@phmovement.org>

The struggle over access to medicines is critical for people?s health

There will be a major tussle at the forthcoming WHA over the UN SG?s High
Level Panel on Access to Medicines
<http://www.unsgaccessmeds.org/final-report/> (HLP A2M).

At the Executive Board in January:

·        The US denounced the High Level Panel (HLP?s) report as unbalanced
and disrespectful to the hegemon;

·        Switzerland and Japan criticised the report as unbalanced;

·        Thailand, Brazil, Iran, South Africa and Venezuela argued there
was much of value in it and MSs should pick up the recommendations which
were acceptable and develop a five year action plan to implement them;

·        India argued that ?the Executive Board should recommend that the
Seventieth World Health Assembly convene an open-ended meeting of Member
States to discuss the High-Level Panel?s recommendations?.

>From a PHM point of view the report of the HLP is a major step forward.
Its recommendations canvass a range of critical issues. From a PHM point of
view it would be wonderful if we could encourage as many governments as
possible to authorise their delegations to support any initiatives such as
that proposed by India in the Executive Board in January.

The HLP report will come up in two different agenda items; centrally in
Item 13.3 (PHM?s draft comment here
but also in Item 13.5 (our draft comment here
PHM?s draft comments on these two items provides a summary of the issues
and links to key documents.

I urgently request all of you to consider contacting networks at the
national and regional levels to approach their governments (as
appropriate!) urging their delegations to support the Indian position as
mentioned above.

Such an initiative would contribute to the struggle to reform a broken
system; it would underline the links between the global policy debates and
the local realities; it would invite further analysis of the fundamental
relationships which characterise neoliberal globalisation.

In terms of capacitating activists to mount such an engagement the
commentary on Item 13.3
outlines the main arguments and provide links to key documents.  If some
kind of summary narrative were needed we may use the following from Item

*The current monopoly-driven R&D system fails to prioritise public health
needs and contributes to the current imbalance in R&D priorities which
leaves many people without treatment. *

*Several years of discussions at the WHO on Innovation, IP and Public
Health have not resolved the current innovation and access crisis. We see
an opposite trend with continued pressure to extend and enforce monopoly
protection in trade negotiations. Increasingly compromised access to
medicines due to high prices no longer affects only developing countries,
but increasingly patients in high income countries too. *

*The public sector across many countries already invests huge sums in
pharmaceutical R&D. Yet without sufficient public health safeguards, the
outcomes of such R&D are often largely garnered by the private sector. *

*Member States have sufficient resources and capacity to implement novel
R&D incentives and regulations. For example, granting end prizes to
innovators (instead of patent monopolies) would enable generic production
of medicines from the moment of discovery, and would therefore de-link the
price of medicines from the cost of R&D. *

*WHO member states have put enormous efforts into the follow up of the
recommendations of the CEWG (see Item 13.5
on this agenda) including the global observatory, the demonstration
projects, the expert committee, the scientific working group and planning
for the ?voluntary pooled fund to support research and development?.    *

*However, the 85% funding gap in relation to the ?voluntary pooled fund?
does not bode well. *

*The UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines
<http://www.unsgaccessmeds.org/final-report/> arises from the increasing
engagement of other UN agencies in this issue (in particular the UNDP and
the Human Rights Council) and argues for a much stronger role for the UN
Secretary General and the UN General Assembly.  *

*The report of the HLP is an excellent opportunity for the WHO to
reinvigorate and renew its work in this area but also to engage more
intensively other UN agencies. We urge the WHO and Member States to endorse
the HLP Report and work for implementation of its recommendations.*

please consider

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