Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) will make the following intervention on agenda item 5.5.3 titled “Preparation for the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on universal health coverage.” Currently, WHO member states are involved in intense negotiations on a draft resolution on this item.
Below is KEI’s intervention followed by notes on context for the agenda item.
As WHO and the United Nations family prepare for the high-level meeting of the United Nations Assembly on Universal Health Coverage, we call upon the WHO to address universal access to new medical technologies, such as new drugs, vaccines, diagnostic tests, and emerging cell and gene-based therapies.
Society correctly values innovation and private investments in R&D for advances in biomedical technologies.
To make biomedical technologies accessible to everyone, it is important to develop new approaches to investment incentives that do not rely up the grant of a temporary monopoly or high prices.
We recognize that transformative changes in the business models for biomedical innovation are daunting, and may seem impossible in the near term. But governments can progressively implement delinkage right now, by establishing and progressively expanding non-price incentives for biomedical innovation, such as market entry rewards, while progressively lowering prices and making access more equal.
The great disparities in access to drugs for cancer and even greater disparities in access to new cell and gene-based therapies cannot be overcome with the current reliance on monopoly based incentives. Therefore UHC requires reform of incentives, if people are serious about universal coverage and access.
There should also be new global norms on transparency of every aspect of health systems.
We also support language, “stressing the important role the international specialized agencies of the United Nations can play in enabling the member states to make full use of TRIPS agreement as a fundamental component of achieving [a]ccess to health, safe and affordable medicines,” and in providing technical assistance on progressive delinkage of incentives to invest in R&D.
As of 22 January 2019, some of the outstanding issues included the use of TRIPS flexibilities in achieving universal health coverage.
(OP1.6.bis) [Raise awareness, advocate for and promote strong and resilient health systems and [access to] (USA) universal health coverage, review progress, achievements and challenges [and set annual targets] (RESERVE: USA) and actions to rectify the gaps in the achievement of UHC, according to the national context;] (EU)
(OP1.6.ter) [to promote increased access to affordable, safe, effective and quality medicines and diagnostics and other technologies, including by making use, to the fullest extent, of the TRIPS flexibilities for the protection of public health and to achieve health for all;] (India, Ecuador, Peru) (RESERVE: EU, Switzerland, USA) / (USE existing language from A/RES/73/2 and 73/3) (Uruguay, Peru)
[and stressing the important role the international specialized agencies of the united nations can play in enabling the member states to make full use of TRIPS agreement as a fundamental component of achieving Access to health, safe and affordable medicines and an attainable standard of Universal health coverage.] (Egypt)
Two informal consultations were scheduled for Monday, 28 January 2019: 1) an afternoon session scheduled from 12:30 to 14:30 and 2) an evening session from 17:00 to 20:00. This item will not be discussed in the plenary of the WHO Executive Board until the Board reaches consensus on the resolution paving the way forward for WHO’s preparation for the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on universal health coverage.