WHA71: KEI statement on the Draft thirteenth general programme of work, 2019–2023

At the 71st World Health Assembly, KEI will deliver the following intervention regarding the Draft thirteenth general programme of work, 2019–2023.

Strategic priority matters

    11.1 Draft thirteenth general programme of work, 2019–2023

    KEI endorses the WHO’s unwavering commitment to universal health coverage in the draft 13th General Programme of Work. As noted by the GPW, “WHO’s role in providing global public goods that help to ensure health for all people..has never been more relevant.”

    The key to achieving universal health coverage is reducing reliance upon, and eventually abandoning the practice of, using high prices and patent monopolies as the incentive to invest in R&D.

    Delinkage models expand the role of direct funding of research and subsidies for trial costs, and use money, rather than monopolies, as the incentive mechanism. Without delinkage, the WHO will never achieve universal health coverage.

    GPW13 should envision a pathway to evaluate and implement alternative business models consistent with universal access to products, which means, in practical terms, the progressive implementation of delinkage — which is essential to reducing prices without undermining innovation.

    Essential to any evaluation or reform of incentives is better economic data. The WHO should explore norms and mechanisms to enhance the transparency of R&D costs, disaggregated by the stage of development, and data on prices, access and revenues.

    The GPW reflects a clear lack of ambition in relation to access to cancer medicines. As countries wrestle with affordability issues, they can seek technical assistance from the WHO or other entities in order to use lawful pathways to ensure treatments are affordable and widely available — including through the granting of compulsory licenses. The WHO should be much more proactive in this regard; rather than waiting passively for countries to approach the WHO for assistance, the WHO could organize regional workshops to share expertise on various technical and practical aspects of compulsory licenses, and other related topics including the ability of Members to implement limitations on remedies for patent infringement.