Wikileaks reports on IFPMA infiltration of WHO Expert Working Group on R&D Financing

On Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 10:42PM (EST), the site Wikileaks, posted this pithy entry on Twitter: “Big Pharma infiltrates WHO Expert Working Group process; WikiLeaks infiltrates Big Pharma“. This Wikileaks entry provides a treasure trove of documentation showing that the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) had access to documents of the Expert Working Group on R&D Financing (EWG) including: 1) a non-public draft report of the WHO EWG, 2) a non-public Comparative Analysis done by the EWG, 3) the IFPMA Overview of the EWG Comparative Analysis, 4) an IFPMA summary slide on the EWG Draft Report and 5) an internal IFPMA email (dated December 1) to its Public Health Advocacy Committee (PHAC) on the status of the EWG process.

These set of documents show the regulatory capture of the EWG process by the pharmaceutical industry. It is rather telling, as evidenced by the internal IFPMA email to its Public Health Advocacy Committee (PHAC) on December 1, 2009, that the pharmaceutical industry had possession of draft report of the Expert Working Group (without recommendations) at least 5 months before the presentation of the final report of the EWG to WHO Member States at the 63rd World Health Assembly in 2010.

The internal IFPMA (December 1, 2009) email states:

As discussed last week during our teleconference, please find attached the draft report of the EWG. We received this document confidentially and we would kindly advise you to not share it outside of our industry network….While the overall result is in line with most of the industry positions on this matter, please note that the EWG is currently meeting and there is still room for them to introduce new language. We will update you as new information become available, and will keep monitoring closely the process in these days, should any input be requested from friendly EWG Members.

It should be noted that the 3rd and final meeting of the EWG took place from November 30 to December 2, 2009. During the EWG process, no public interest NGOs were invited by the EWG to make presentations; only the pharmaceutical industry, the Gates Foundation and PDPs have had access to EWG members. This IFPMA email reveals that during the 3rd meeting of the EWG, the IFPMA somehow obtained a draft copy of the EWG report at a critical juncture during the EWG process where recommendations were being finalized. The IFPMA communication quietly exults in the fact that the report “is in line with most of the industry positions” and advises its members which include Pfizer, GSK, Sanofi-Aventis, Eli Lilly, Boehringer Ingelheim and Roche that opportunities existed for the IFPMA and its member companies to “introduce new language” into the EWG report.

Thanks to the courageous actions of a pharmaceutical industry “Deep Throat”, the responsiveness of the WHO Expert Working Group to industry lobbying is reflected in the telltale fingerprints of the IFPMA on the Wikileaks documents. The word “trust”is often invoked by the leadership of WHO; how Member States react to these leaks will be on the cards at the meeting of the WHO Executive Board in January 2010.

KEI is producing an analysis of the draft EWG report, and it will be disseminated shortly.