134th WHO Executive Board meeting – Agenda item 9.3: Follow up of the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination
Speaker: Katy Athersuch, Medical Innovation and Access Policy Advisor, MSF Access Campaign
Médecins Sans Frontières remains concerned with the lack of bold action by WHO and Member States to fundamentally address the lack of R&D to meet developing country needs, despite the clear and urgent recommendations of the CEWG report. With many health products unavailable, unsuitable or unaffordable, this problem directly concerns MSF field programmes and is the responsibility of all governments to address through a collective solution.
Discussion on how to take forward the most transformative proposals has been postponed until 2016. The response until then - the observatory and demonstration projects - is nowhere near enough to address the magnitude of the challenge.
Concerning the document on financing and coordination, if existing funding mechanisms are to be explored a far more robust analysis must be made, drawing upon the principles enshrined in the CEWG. In addition, any existing or new funding mechanism must forge new models for R&D based on open collaborative approaches and innovation with access.
Concerning the demonstration projects, MSF regrets that the majority of shortlisted projects may not be able to provide the “evidence for long-term sustainable solutions” that the Decisions Point adopted at the 66th WHA stated as the intention. Many of the selected proposals are straightforward funding requests to support ongoing R&D projects, and do not incorporate new incentive models that could showcase transformative change. We urge Member States to ensure, as per the recommendations of the CEWG report, that only proposals that demonstrate alternative incentive mechanisms guided by principles of ensuring innovation with access go forward.
Finally, we urge Member States to focus on 2016 and the need to agree a sustainable framework to more comprehensively address the persistent R&D challenges of diseases affecting developing countries.