Statement |

136th WHO EB - MSF intervention on GSPA on public health, innovation and intellectual property

136th WHO Executive Board
Agenda item 10.5
Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property

Speaker: Katy Athersuch, Medical Access and Innovation Policy Advisor

Médecins Sans Frontières calls on Member States to extend the mandate of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPOA) until 2022. The aim of the strategy was to "provide a medium-term framework for securing an enhanced and sustainable basis for needs driven essential health research and development".

We are a long way from fully implementing the Global Strategy. Every day, Medecins Sans Frontieres continues to see the importance and role that the Global Strategy, if fully and properly implemented, could play in ensuring access and innovation to medicines.

Today we see increasing failures with our current system of research and development, whether with respect to Ebola, antibiotic resistance, or a range of neglected diseases. We also see unaffordable prices for essential new medicines, including up to 1000 USD per pill for new medicines to treat Hepatitis C.

Yet in lieu of new approaches to research and development that could ensure needs-based innovation and access, some governments, pushed by multinational pharmaceutical companies, are instead seeking to increase intellectual property protection worldwide, which will only deepen the challenges that MSF and others will face in accessing treatments, diagnostics and vaccines. For example, this week 12 countries are moving towards end-stage negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, which will be the most damaging agreement ever for access to medicines.

We hope the WHO, with an extended mandate, can take bold and decisive action, to work with Member States to introduce policies that can increase access to medicines and introduce new models of innovation that can address the shortcomings of the patent system that leaves millions of patients behind.