Statement |

142nd WHO EB Agenda item 3.7 - Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property

Speaker: Elena Villanueva

Almost 10 years after the adoption of the historic Global Strategy and Plan of Action (GSPOA) on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, we are still failing to prioritise the innovation needed to address critical unmet public health needs, and have long failed to ensure that essential medicines, vaccines and diagnostics are affordable and adapted to people’s needs.

The result? Preventable illness and loss of life continue, affecting people in low- and middle-income countries, and increasingly, high-income countries, as well.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) witnesses first-hand these failures to properly test and treat TB, especially drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). We welcome the plan to hold a UN High Level Meeting (UN HLM) on tuberculosis, and call for a rapid acceleration of scale-up towards the global End TB Targets. We are well behind in achieving these goals.

While MSF welcomes increased attention from WHO and Member States to ensuring that medical research and development (R&D) prioritises people’s health needs, we urge WHO and Member States to transform priorities on paper into tangible, lifesaving outcomes for people in need:

  • Endorse and act upon the recommendations of the expert panel that build on the findings of the GSPOA and the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination, which Member States have previously endorsed.  
  • Give WHO has a clear mandate to draft a GSPOA implementation plan in 2018 that includes a clear monitoring mechanism and annual accountability report, to be implemented within the WHO General Programme of Work 2019-2023. Of course, this can only be done if Member States ensure the work is adequately funded.
  • As proposed in the GSPOA, explore new R&D approaches that prioritise health needs and end our reliance on high prices to finance the innovation.

The recommendations of the GSPOA review panel to address access and innovation challenges must be applied for all essential health products, all diseases and all countries. Only then will we be able to make progress on Sustainable Development Goal 3 and achieve universal health coverage.

MSF briefings and interventions at WHO Executive Board 142nd session - January 2018