Statement |

138th WHO EB - Agenda Item 10.3: Follow-up of the report of the CEWG on R&D

Speaker: Katy Athersuch

Proposals to address the interconnected innovation crises - Ebola and other emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and the work in follow up to the CEWG report - are being discussed separately in multiple forums and under different conceptual frameworks. There is a risk that the multiplication of proposed initiatives will further fragment, rather than reconcile, efforts to accelerate innovation and ensure equitable access to desperately needed new health technologies for a wide range of diseases. 

Yet there is also a unique opportunity to build on the unprecedented recognition of the failures of our current biomedical R&D system and connect these initiatives within a coherent framework. 

As we look ahead to the open-ended meeting, we hope that time is made for Member States to evaluate other proposals for R&D blueprints and frameworks being considered by WHO and other forums, in order to ensure coherence with both the CEWG recommendations and the Global Strategy and Plan of Action (GSPA).

The innovation for access principles formulated in the CEWG report and summarized in resolution WHA 66.22, ‘affordability, effectiveness, efficiency and equity’ and the objective to achieve the ‘de-linkage of the cost of research and development from the price of health products’, represent the most sound foundation on which to base all health R&D work to develop essential health technologies which address public health needs.

We note the importance of ensuring that sufficient time is made available during the open-ended meeting to review the outstanding elements of the CEWG report. This includes consideration of the CEWG’s main recommendation for the elaboration of an Agreement on essential health R&D. We note with concern that little to no work has been done to advance discussions on this Agreement since the publication of the CEWG report in 2012. This must urgently be addressed.