Board Debates Medicines Access; WHO Asserts Mandate On IP, Trade Issues

Shortages, faulty supply chains, unbearable prices, weak health systems – the issue of access to medicines is multifaceted and gave way to a long list of interventions yesterday at the World Health Organization. Challenged on its mandate to address intellectual property and trade issues, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Gheyebresus (Dr Tedros) confirmed that WHO’s mandate includes work with partners on those issues. Discussions also included fair pricing and transparency, for which Italy called for a resolution at the next World Health Assembly.

WHO Executive Board, taking place from 24 January to 1 February, considered and noted a draft roadmap [pdf] for access to medicines, vaccines, and other health products for the period 2019-2023. The roadmap is expected to be amended, following the numerous comments, and presented to the World Health Assembly in May.

The WHO regional director for the South East Asia (SEARO) region, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, introducing the proposed roadmap, said progress have been made in access to medicines and vaccines, but they have been very uneven, with the poor and vulnerable being the most affected (IPW, WHO, 29 January 2019).

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Image Credits: WHO.

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