At the meeting of the World Health Organization’s 148th Executive Board, Knowledge Ecology International delivered the following remarks on expanding access to effective treatments for cancer and rare and orphan diseases including cell and gene-based therapies on Friday, 22 January 2021. Non-state actors are limited to one minute statements.
148th session of the Executive Board
Agenda Item: 7 Expanding access to effective treatments for cancer and rare and orphan diseases, including medicines, vaccines, medical devices, diagnostics, assistive products, cell- and gene based therapies and other health technologies; and improving the transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines, and other health products
KEI will make five points on this agenda item.
- The disparities in access to the most effective treatments for cancer are severe. There is inequality in access to small molecule drugs, far more inequality in access to biologic drugs, and almost no access at all to the newer cell based therapies in many countries.
- The WHO should propose remedies to the lack of access to the know-how to manufacture biologic drugs and cell therapies.
- Working with WIPO and the WTO, the WHO should provide technical assistance to member states on the flexibility in international agreements to create exceptions to patent rights for treatments that can be classified as services, such as autologous CAR-T.
- The WHO Global Observatory for R&D should collect and publish information on costs associated with clinical trials that establish safety and efficacy of new treatments.
- The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines needs a category for treatments that are essential if available at affordable prices.