As the 126th session of the Executive Board (EB) of the World Health Organization unfolds today, it appears that the EB will consider agenda item 4.3 on Public health, innovation and intellectual property: Global strategy and plan of action. Under scrutiny will be the work of the Expert Working Group on research and development financing which is mandated by resolution WHA61.21
(7) to establish urgently a results-oriented and time-limited expert working group to examine current financing and coordination of research and development, as well as proposals for new and innovative sources of funding to stimulate research and development related to Type II and Type III diseases and the specific research and development needs of developing countries in relation to Type I diseases, and open to consideration of proposals from Member States, and to submit a progress report to the Sixty-second World Health Assembly and the final report to the Sixty-third World Health Assembly through the Executive Board;
It should be noted that WHA61.21 instructed the EWG to submit its final report to the 63th WHA (May 2010) THROUGH the Executive Board, so there is some drama at the EB, given opposition to the report from several public health NGOs, as well as critical comments by some governments and at least one member of the WHO EWG. The final report was only published on January 15 (Friday evening) in English. In its acknowledgments section, Mary Moran, Director of the Health Policy Division of the George Institute for International Health, is credited with providing background reports for the EWG’s consideration. In particular, Mary Moran played a critical role in preparing section 5 of the EWG report on Innovative Sources of Financing which dealt with 90 proposals for financing; the report notes that “[m]aterial for this section was drawn from a paper prepared for the Expert Working Group on R&D Financing by Mary Moran with the assistance of a team from the George Institute for International Health.” Earlier, in a leaked email and analysis, the IFPMA described Mary Moran as the coordinator of the evaluations.
Given Dr. Moran and the George Institute central role in evaluating the proposals, there has been some interest in relationship between the George Institute and the pharmaceutical industry. Among the data have have raised eyebrows are the extensive number of corporate funders of the George Institute work, including the following pharmaceutical and medical device companies:
(update, the newer link is here:http://www.georgeinstitute.org/about-us/our-global-partners/funders)
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd
Guidant Corporation (Boston Scientific Corporation)
In addition, the George Institute is funded by several disease specific organizations that receive significant corporate funding, such as Kidney Health Australia (Amgen, Genzyme, Janssen-Cilag, Roche Pty and Baxter Healthcare), or International Society of Hypertension (http://www.ish-world.com/default.aspx?Corporate_Members).