Statement |

WHO 146th EB -14 (EB146/15) – Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property

Manuel Martin
Medical Innovation & Access Policy Advisor
MSF Access Campaign

MSF Statement: Agenda item 14 (EB146/15) – Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property

WHO Executive Board's Special Session on EbolaUN Photo/Christopher Black

Speaker: Manuel Martin

Médecins Sans Frontières welcomes the progress made on implementing the recommendations of the overall programme review panel of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPOA). The GSPOA clearly remains a critical agenda item to guide the WHO’s and member states’ work on research and development (R&D) in the public interest and access to affordable medicines.

We are also encouraged by the draft implementation plan to guide further action on the prioritised recommendations of the review panel and support the proposed actions on technology transfer and management of intellectual property, including the fostering of “national legislation to fully reflect the flexibilities provided in the TRIPS Agreement”.

Discussions on three of the recommendations (4, 27, 28) were deferred in decision WHA71(9). Given their importance in achieving the GSPOA’s goal to “promote new thinking on innovation and access to medicines and to secure an enhanced and sustainable basis for needs-driven essential health research and development relevant to diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries”, it is critical they are taken forward. In particular, recommendation 4, which focusses on transparency of R&D costs, is an indispensable element for guiding R&D decisions and ensuring fair pricing of resulting health products. Hence, we strongly urge member states to pay special attention to these and incorporate them into their national contexts, and we recommend the WHO Secretariat to include them in the implementation plan.

Finally, we would like to remind member states that the success of the implementation plan and related GSPOA activities – such as the global observatory on health R&D – depend on adequate funding, and therefore urge member states to commit adequate financial resources to this area of work.

We look forward to seeing all 33 recommendations put into action.