70th World Health Assembly Intervention, Agenda Item 13.5
Follow-up of the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development - Financing and Coordination (CEWG report)
MSF welcomes the increased attention by WHO and Member States to ensure R&D effectively prioritises people’s health needs. We are often hindered in providing health care because medicines, vaccines and diagnostics are too expensive, too difficult to use or do not exist. MSF believes a comprehensive reform of the way we prioritize, finance and conduct medical R&D is long overdue. Building on a growing momentum that recognizes affordable access to medical innovation is a global issue, WHO and Member States have a unique opportunity to advance this urgently needed reform.
Governments need to increase their investments in R&D and ensure public return on that investment in terms of affordability and availability of resulting products, open sharing of data and knowledge, and ensuring people’s health needs are prioritized. We encourage governments to align R&D incentives with these needs, ideally through global frameworks to ensure that research and funding efforts will be effectively coordinated.
The Global Observatory on Health R&D is a positive step. But in its current state of development, it falls far short of providing the comprehensive data needed to prioritize and better coordinate decisions on R&D.
It currently only monitors funding flows for neglected tropical diseases, and the indicators selected to monitor health R&D don’t include any of the core CEWG principles: affordability, effectiveness, efficiency, equity and the principle of delinkage. WHO should outline how the Observatory will provide sufficient information to inform priority setting and investment decisions of government and other R&D funders. The Observatory should also monitor key indicators of transparency, including transparency on the costs of clinical trials, drug prices and access strategies for products in development.
MSF welcomed resolution WHA69.23, and urges WHO and Member States to ensure policy coherence on all R&D-related activities, ensuring alignment with core CEWG principles, as identified in resolution WHA66.22. Briefing document: Medical Research and Development
A full list of briefing documents and interventions for the 70th WHA can be found here.