Speaker: Michelle Childs, Médecins Sans Frontières International
MSF is deeply disappointed with both the report of the meeting of Member States on the CEWG report and the draft Resolution.
Despite a clear restatement of the failures of the current R&D system to deliver affordable, accessible and appropriate medical tools to meet the needs of people in developing countries, Member States are being asked to pass - unopened - an extremely weak Resolution which threatens to change nothing.
The Resolution postpones discussions on a global R&D framework and makes very little concrete progress, despite the CEWG report’s clear call for urgent collective action. This is unacceptable.
The few elements in the Resolution that could deliver results for neglected areas of R&D are vague. Clarifications are needed to ensure they are ambitious and deliver. The proposed R&D Observatory, for example, must fulfil three interlinked functions if it is to contribute towards meaningful change:
- It must identify what R&D is being undertaken;
- It must to identify what R&D is missing;
- And it must work with Member States and experts to determine R&D priorities.
If the Observatory does not have the mandate for these three functions, it is of very limited worth.
The Resolution also requests the Director-General to facilitate the implementation of health R&D demonstration projects. Such projects have the potential to pilot new and improved mechanisms for financing R&D. However, it is critical they be used to implement key principles outlined in the CEWG report to deliver innovation and access. This is necessary so that they are indeed 'demonstrating' new R&D approaches, and not simply replicating existing ones. They also need to feed into the development of norms and standards for health R&D which incorporate the principle of de-linkage.
These clarifications are important and necessary. Even if they are accepted, however, the Resolution provides nowhere near enough to address the magnitude of global health R&D challenges.
Without significantly strengthened public leadership and public funding for neglected areas of R&D, we will be left with a piecemeal response. We need a more sustainable solution- a global R&D framework- driven by Member States themselves.