Universal health coverage, access to medicines, and noncommunicable diseases are priorities for Switzerland in global health policy. Amb. Nora Kronig Romero is the head of the International Affairs Division and Vice Director General of the Federal Office of Public Health, as well as Swiss Ambassador for Global Health. She sat down with Health Policy Watch while in Geneva last week for the meeting of the World Health Organization Executive Board, which Switzerland attended as an observer to the governing board comprised of 34 WHO member states. Continue reading ->
Dorli Kahr-Gottlieb writes: For more than 20 years, every October, around 500 leading health experts from governmental institutions, civil society, the academic world, and the private sector meet up at the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG). They meet to discuss Europe’s contemporary health challenges and address pressing issues around the sustainability of European health systems in a Davos like setting, in the presence of Ministers of Health and senior European Commission and WHO officials. This year’s edition of the EHFG, called simply “Gastein” by the cognoscente, is an official Austrian EU Presidency event. Over the three days, Gastein is not going to shy away from the big European political debates such as how much of a role Europe should play in shaping health policy; but also it is going to take on some of the big global health policy challenges. Continue reading ->
Thomas Cueni writes: It’s often hard to see progress when the realities surrounding you are bleak: non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the world’s biggest killer, responsible for around 70 percent of global deaths. Each year some 40 million people die of such chronic diseases as cardiovascular failure, cancer, respiratory illnesses and diabetes: the four main killers. Tragically, they take the lives of as many as 15 million people in their most productive period, between 25 and 65. Worse, many of these deaths are entirely preventable. Prevention and innovation are the two key weapons in the fight against NCDs. Continue reading ->
Dr Carlos Maria Correa, an Argentinian economist and lawyer, is globally renowned for his expertise on international trade, intellectual property, health, technology transfer, investment policy and especially their impact on developing countries. He has authored several books and academic articles and been a visiting professor at several universities. Additionally, he has consulted with many United Nations agencies, the World Bank, and other regional and international organisations and has advised several governments on intellectual property, innovation policy and public health. Correa was a member of the UK Commission on Intellectual Property, of the Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Public Health established by the World Health Assembly and of the FAO Panel of Eminent Experts on Ethics in Food and Agriculture. Currently, he is the Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies on Industrial Property and Economics Law, at the University of Buenos Aires. He takes over as the Executive Director of the Secretariat of the Geneva-based South Centre from 1 July 2018. Correa recently engaged in an interview with Patralekha Chatterjee for Intellectual Property Watch. [Note: this interview is number two of two. The first, with Dr Othoman Mellouk, is available here.] Continue reading ->
Dr Othoman Mellouk is a Moroccan treatment advocate who has been working on intellectual property and access to medicines for more than a decade. He is the Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines Lead at the international treatment preparedness coalition (ITPC), a global network of people living with HIV and their advocates working together to achieve access to HIV and Viral Hepatitis and a member of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee on HIV and Hepatitis. Dr Mellouk started off in the Association for the Fight against AIDS which has been at the forefront of the response to HIV in Morocco and the introduction of the first anti-HIV generic medicines in the country. In a series supported by the Make Medicines Affordable organisation, Mellouk recently engaged in an interview with Patralekha Chatterjee for Intellectual Property Watch. Continue reading ->
This week the media reported that the Brazilian federal court removed the patent protection for eculizumab, sold under the brand name Soliris by Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Eculizumab is used in the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare and life-threatening blood disease. The product was approved by the US FDA for this indication in 2016. Brazil’s health care system spent $184.2 million to treat 442 patients with Soliris, an average of over $416,000 per patient. The patent office expects that more revocations may follow. This blog explains why this is. Continue reading ->
On Monday, 27 November, the WHO published the recommendations of the overall programme review of the global strategy and plan of action on public, health innovation and intellectual property (EB142/14). The expert panel provided 33 recommendations which included 17 forward looking”high-priority actions” including on transparency and delinkage, writes Thiru Balasubramaniam. Continue reading ->
We are in a liminal moment for global health financing. The “golden age” of increasing donor funding is clearly over, arrested by the 2008 financial crisis. But while donor contributions are no longer climbing, they have not been falling, either. And it is possible this status quo will hold… But it’s equally possible that this is just the pause before the roller-coaster drops. Considering that Gavi, the Global Fund, and the World Bank will all be launching another replenishment round in 2019—and given the uncertainty surrounding US foreign aid commitments and post-polio financing—that drop may prove very steep indeed. Continue reading ->
Transparency” and “accountability” are familiar buzzwords. Like salt and pepper, they pop up on nearly every list of ingredients for sound policy and good governance. But, as Ilona Kickbusch and Suerie Moon of the Graduate Institute Global Health Centre in Geneva point out, their details are rarely specified: transparency for what? Accountability to whom? On Tuesday afternoon, those not busy casting a vote for the next World Health Organization director general got the chance to dig into these questions at a panel co-sponsored by the Graduate Institute and FIND. In particular, discussion focused on transparency in terms of public access to two types of information: drug R&D costs and clinical trial data. Continue reading ->