MSF statement at close of 61st World Health Assembly
26 May 2008
Geneva - Governments have concluded negotiations as a part of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG) on a Global Strategy and Plan of Action. A Resolution was adopted by WHO Member States calling for the creation of an expert working group to examine proposals for new and innovative sources of funding to stimulate R&D to address developing country health needs. "What is encouraging is that governments have clearly called for the WHO to play a strategic and central role in intellectual property," said Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Director of MSF's Access to Essential Medicines Campaign. "Countries have pledged to give health interests the pre-eminence they deserve when considering how to manage IP. "We expected the IGWG to start delivering solutions for R&D into developing country diseases," said Dr. von Schoen-Angerer. "We need more money for R&D, but money is not the only answer - we also need new models for incentivising the R&D and ensuring access to new drugs and diagnostics. "Some important steps in the right direction have been made. The expert working group now needs to take serious steps to move forward with a set of practical proposals that are on the table. It needs to take on more ambitious proposals to change the way essential health R&D is financed, including for example through the creation of prize fund to boost the development of tuberculosis diagnostics."