Proposed by Brazilian Delegation to the Fifty-fourth World Health Assembly

Revised Drug Strategy

The Fifty-fourth World Health Assembly:

Considering that access to health is a human right and that access to essential drugs is part of the human right to health and depends on:

a) rational selection and use of medicines;
b) adequate financing;
c) affordable prices; and
d) reliable supply systems

Considering that international law, and particularly Article 12 or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, recognizes the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and that Article 12 thereof legally binds States to furnish economic and technical assistance and cooperation to realize that right, as respects the treatment of diseases;

Additionally, considering that access to medicines is particularly sensitive to price, since most people in developing countries have to pay out of their own pockets for health care, and that for achieving universal access it is necessary to jointly ensure the commitment of Governments, the United Nations Offices, the private sector and the civil society ;

Recalling Revised drug strategy Resolution WHA 52.19 and prior related resolutions, nominally WHA39.27, WHA41.16, WHA43.20, WHA45.27, WHA47.12, WHA47.16, WHA 47.17, and WHA 49.14;

Having considered the Report of the Executive Board on its 107th session;

Taking into account the Revised Drug Strategy Report by the Secretariat (document A54/17), as well as the previous Report to the 53rd World Health Assembly (document A53/10), that highlights challenges in the issues of international trade agreements, access to essential drugs, drug quality and rational use of medicines; that also takes into account that the very urgent need to increase access to drugs for treating priority health problems such as malaria, childhood illnesses, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, among others;

Taking into account that the aforementioned health problems present acute crises which particularly affect the poor and vulnerable populations, and which entrap them in poverty, substantially slowing the growth of national and international economies to the detriment of all humanity;

Taking into account that the Revised Drug Strategy must be immediately implemented, to realize the enormous health benefits that essential drugs can offer to the one-third of the human population now lacking them;

Taking into account that the currently insufficient levels of international economic and technical assistance do not ethically or legally justify delays in the implementation of the Revised Drug Strategy;

Noting the importance that WHO and overall country governments are according to the formulation, implementation and monitoring of national drug policies in accordance to WHO guidelines;

Acknowledging the four main objectives incorporated in WHO Medicines Strategy: framework for action in Essential drugs and Medicines policy 2000-2003 , being: to frame and implement policy; to ensure access; to ensure safety, quality, and efficacy; and to promote rational use of medicines;

Commending the strong leadership that WHO has shown in reemphasizing the essential drugs concept, and the contributions of non governmental organizations working on public health, toward the attainment of such objectives as national drug policies, access to drugs, indicators for monitoring access and policies, promotion of generic drugs, differential pricing, supply of drug price information, methodology for drug pricing surveys, sustainable financing of drug purchases, reliable supply systems, studies of international trade agreements, harmonization of drug regulation, good manufacturing practices, among others;

Noting that the impact of international trade agreements on the access to or local manufacturing of essential drugs has scarcely been evaluated in most developing countries, and that ongoing initiatives are needed to research and develop drug policies vis--vis these agreements;

Recalling that the 9th point of the Revised Drug Strategy (Resolution WHA52.19) requested the Director-General to report to the 53rd Assembly on progress achieved, problems encountered, and recommendations for action, and that the 107th Executive Board meeting further requested the Director General to report on the actions of the Secretariat to this Assembly, as noted in documents A53/10 and A54/17;

Reaffirming the Commission of Human Rights resolution 2001/33 approved by its 57th Session;

1. URGES Member States to:

  1. Ratify this Resolution and related documents as quoted herein, to reaffirm their commitment and include the necessary actions within their national health policies to ensure public health interests and equitable access to medicines

  2. Guarantee access to medicines in the context of priority diseases and pandemics, which must be considered as a fundamental human right at international law, the full realization of which is indispensable to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

  3. Join efforts to cooperate into the implementation of all of the Operative Paragraphs contained in the Commission of Human Rights resolution 2001/33;

  4. To confirm the Revised Drug Strategy Resolution WHA52.19 as an imperative mandate for Member State actions directed toward the goal of expanding access of populations to essential drugs

  5. Pursue measures directed to expanding access of their own populations to essential drugs;

  6. Cease and desist immediately from bilateral actions that effectively obstruct the efforts of other Member States to expand access and local production of generic drugs, where doing so has the potential to improve the health of millions of people, and particularly those in least developed countries;

  7. Provide the requisite international financial and technical assistance, as legally mandated in Article 2 of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to enable measures undertaken by less developed Member States to expand access to essential drugs.

2. REQUESTS the Director-General to:

  1. Include as a permanent issue of the Agenda of the World Health Assemblies for the next years of 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, the Revised Drug Strategy, with yearly Reports by the Secretariat, in order to allow developing countries to discuss and debate advances and constraints in achieving expanded access to essential drugs to their populations, with a view to facilitating the implementation of joint strategies and guidelines;

  2. To facilitate, jointly with Member States and non-governmental organizations concerned with public health an in-depth evaluation of the essential drugs concept and current guidelines; the development of new pharmaceutical chemical entities for neglected diseases whose burden is predominantly in poor countries; the identification of measures to protect intellectual property which are consistent with and subordinate to the concurrent goal of ensuring present and future access to essential drugs;

  3. Facilitate Member States in urgently implementing, in partnership with non governmental organizations, database systems for monitoring and reporting global drug prices and a consolidated worldwide database, in order to make it feasible, especially for least developed countries, to have reliable information and equity in access to essential drugs within their health systems;

  4. Support the implementation of drug monitoring systems in order to better identify adverse reactions and misuse of drugs within health systems, thus promoting rational use of drugs

  5. Continue and enhance efforts to study and report on the pharmaceutical and public health implications of international trade agreements

  6. Enhance funding to support Member States requesting assistance in achieving the priorities stated in Revised Drug Strategy Resolution WHA 52.19, Reports by the Secretariat (document A53/10 and A54/17), and this Resolution.

CPT Home IP and Healthcare CPT page on 2001 WHA