IP-health Note | Thu, 17 Dec 1998

US to support WHA Revised Drug Strategy

Jamie Love
December 17, 1998. Washington

Today Robert Weissman, Catherine Gavin and I meet with US FDA officials
Dr. Stuart Nightingale and Michelle Limoli to receive a briefing on the
recent discussions in Geneva regarding the new World Health Assembly
(WHA) resolution on the Revised Drug Strategy.  The November 25, 1998
draft of this resolution is now on the WHO web page in pdf format. 
(http://www.who.int/gb/eb103/ee4.pdf)  Catherine is also going to put an
html version on the www.cptech.org web page.

According to Dr. Nightingale, the US government supports the November
25, 1998 draft of the resolution, and will support its approval in the
WHA Executive Board meeting and in the full WHA meeting in May.  Dr.
Nightingale said the US was opposed to any efforts to amend the
resolution, and said it represented a consensus view on how to proceed
on the issue of the World Health Organization's role in trade related
matters that have public health considerations.  

The latest version of the resolution addresses many areas.  With respect
to the disputes concerning trade agreements, the resolution urges member

   (2) to ensure that public health interests are paramount in
pharmaceutical and health policies;

   (3) to explore and review their options under relevant international
agreements, including trade agreements, to safeguard access to essential

        The Director-General is requsted

  (7) to cooperate with Member States, at their request, and with
international organizations in monitoring and analyzing the
pharmaceutical and public health implications of relevant international
agreements, including trade agreements, so that Member States can
effectively assess and subsequently develop pharmaceutical and health
policies and regulatory measures that address their concerns and
priorities, and are able to maximize the positive and mitigate the
negative impact of those agreements; 

   .........  I welcome comments on this resolution.  It does seem to be
a very positive step for the WHO on these trade disputes.  Much thanks
to the many national public health officials and NGO public health
activists who worked so hard on the often tense negotiations.

        Now attention may turn to implementation of the resolution.

  Jamie Love