World Health Assembly Agrees To Reinvigorate Plan Of Action To Boost R&D, Access

[Note: read the complete story on Intellectual Property Watch,]

Ten years after the adoption of a World Health Organization plan of action meant to stimulate innovation for diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries, and with very little to show for it since, delegates at the World Health Assembly this week agreed to a number of recommendations to reinvigorate the effort. How to finance the implementation of those recommendations, however, is unclear.

71st World Health Assembly plenary meeting

The 71th World Health Assembly (WHA) is taking place from 21-26 May. WHO delegates agreed to adopt a decision recommended by the Executive Board in January on the Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property [pdf] (GSPOA) (IPW, WHO, 26 January 2018).

The decision [pdf] adopted in one of the WHA committees, approved this morning by the full membership in plenary, supports a number of recommendations [pdf] by a group of experts having reviewed the GSPA (also known as GSPOA), to be taken by the WHO, and member states over the period 2018-2022. The WHO is requested to report on progress made in implementing the decision in 2020.

The proposed budget is not covered within existing resources, and a number of countries remarked on the fact that the financial resources to implement those recommendations are not there yet, such as Argentina, Pakistan, and South Africa.

According to the WHO, the full budget for the 33 recommendations is estimated at US$31.5 million over the period 2018-2022. If only the prioritised recommendations were to be implemented, this budget would be brought down to US$16.3 million.

Argentina said countries need a clearer idea of budget needs, calling for the WHO to present innovative funding suggestions, in particular for the prioritised recommendations. India also said the primary hurdle in the implementation is “the serious lack of funding.” Untying assessed contributions “would go a long way” to free funds.

Canada also asked for a full cost implication for WHO of the recommendations, and Colombia asked that increased efforts be deployed to guarantee the implementation of the recommendations.

Malaysia stressed the need to strengthen health systems and access to essential medicines, and the establishment of regional procurement institutions.

[Note: read the complete story on Intellectual Property Watch here.]


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