68th WHA: MSF Intervention on the Follow-up of the Report of the CEWG on R&D: Financing and Coordination
WHO 68th World Health Assembly, 2015
Provisional agenda item 17.4 – Follow-up of the Report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination
Speaker: Judit Rius Sanjuan
This past year will be remembered for the Ebola crisis, the growing global threat of antimicrobial resistance and the continuing challenge of neglected diseases. A thread running through these global health concerns is the dearth in innovation for new diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines. Yet, even when we have significant medical breakthroughs, such as drugs for hepatitis C, they are priced out of reach for millions.
Ebola, AMR, and hepatitis are not exceptions; they are deadly reminders of the failure of the R&D system.
In past years we have seen that adding more funding and subsidies combined with even fewer regulatory requirements is not the solution. Today in the case of Ebola, even if we accept limitations to ongoing efforts: inadequate collaboration, data sharing and access commitments; the progress made in such a short time shows what can be achieved in applying some CEWG recommendations such as increased coordination, monitoring, priority setting and funding with WHO playing a key role. The unnecessary deaths and suffering caused by this Ebola crisis should be a wake up call.
The CEWG is our roadmap. Voluntary contributions made by some governments to demonstration projects are very welcome but just a first step. Sufficient, sustainable public funding coordinated across all health concerns tied to principles of de-linkage and open innovation ensuring both innovation and access, is the next step.
This is why MSF is calling for a Global Biomedical R&D Fund and Mechanism for Innovations of Public Health Importance. We must move from discussion to implementation. Governments, philanthropic funders and the international community need to deliver patient-driven innovations and embrace systemic change.
This Assembly should not conclude without setting a date in 2015 for the open-ended meeting to prepare for the discussions at the 69th WHA on the full CEWG report, including a global R&D framework.