Selected Quotations on Research and Development for Essential Health Needs

59th World Health Assembly
May 22-27, 2006

James Love (CPTech):
"Right now the important decisions about setting priorities and financing R&D are made by the WTO, WIPO and the G8. The World Health Organization needs to start a conversation about how we fund R&D, and this conversation should include discussions of how priorities are set, how the burden of paying for R&D is shared, and how we ensure access to new inventions. A new global framework for R&D could take different forms, depending upon country views. For example, one could imagine something quite simple, like a set of soft norms and more collaboration and sharing of information, focusing only on narrow areas of priority research. Or, there might be support for a more comprehensive and formal agreement, such as the Framework Convention on R&D that was proposed by Brazil and a number of public health stake-holders. We will have to see what is proposed, and the degree of public and government support for the alternatives. We also need to look at this as a process, that could involve both short term confidence building steps, with more ambitious measures possible over a longer time period. We have to be realistic about the capacity of the public health community to engage on R&D issues, and also to recognize how the importance of this initiative, and to explain the benefits in ways that are easy to understand."

Silvia Mancini (MSF-Rome):
"It is important that governments take responsibility in promoting essential health research and development and create a needs driven agenda."

James Arkinstall (MSF Access Campaign):
"It’s about time we changed the rules of the game."

Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer (MSF):
“The new efforts undertaken by private companies and PDPs for neglected diseases are not enough."

Nicoletta Dentico (DNDi):
“There is a compelling need to shift the discussion of medical R&D from WTO to WHO. WHO has to show once again the leadership it displayed during the creation of the essential drugs concept in the 1970s. The challenge here is to extend the concept of essentiality - which is a human rights driven concept - from "downstream" medical tools such as drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to the "upstream" processes of R&D. It is not just a question of throwing more money into R&D, it is about which patients we respond to."

Martin Khor (TWN):
"Developing countries urgently need a global discussion at the WHO on how to solve our most pressing health problems that new medicines are not forthcoming at affordable costs to treat the most pressing diseases. We hope that a working group will be created to discuss all these complex issues relating to the research and development of medical products including their delivery-especially to the poor."

Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury (Gonoshasthaya Kendra):
"After a long continuing struggle against the multinational commercial interests toward public health, this Kenyan/Brazilian proposal on R&D is a right step in the right direction for the achievement of the rights of the people. Countries, politicians and the people have realized that R&D and public health cannot be subject to the WTO paradigm but rather it should be under the aegis of the WHO where public health takes primacy over commercial interests. I hope drafting committees of the WHO would not take too much time as it would ultimately kill the proposal. All of us must remember that if quality medicines are not affordable, the poor cannot access essential health tools to improve their lives and livelihoods and this would ultimately affect the sustainability of the current system."

Khalid Elouardighi (Act UP Paris):
"The current system is not adequately delivering paediatric ARVs. Developed countries have to recognize this market failure and come up with a way to fix the system. The World Health Organization is ideally placed to provide proposals on this subject."

Thomas Gebauer (Medico International):
"It is high time to ensure everybody’s access to essential health care. The modern globalized world should not accept that millions of people only die because urgently needed drugs are not available or developed. R&D has to respond to health needs. Since the market and profit oriented system of health R&D has failed, it is up to the public and governments to change. That is what the Kenya/Brazil resolution stands for."

Christian Wagner (Buko Pharma-Kampagne):
"he Kenya resolution is a major step for discussing alternative solutions for pharmaceutical R&D."

Patrick Mubangizi (HAI Africa):
"We support the Kenya/Brazil resolution as a way to improve mechanisms for research and development especially its emphasis on priority setting for neglected diseases that are needed for the poor and marginalized in Africa. Governments of Africa have the mandate to change the R&D system that has failed."

Dr. Mira Shiva (HAI Asia Pacific):
"To ensure that the essential drugs of tomorrow are available, appropriate R&D has to be done today. And appropriate being from the perspective of those who needlessly die and suffer from diseases for which there could be affordable and accessible solutions. This includes quick diagnosis, effective, safe and rational treatment ensuring gender and socially equitable distribution and delivery."

Dr. Tim Reed (HAI Europe):
"This is a crucial resolution that will propel the debate on essential medicines to meet people-led health needs."

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