WHO biomedical convention proposals

Summary

Meta-point: this summary shall refer to the proposals in their most recent form unless otherwise stated.

A series of proposals were made to the World Health Organisation (WHO) concerning a binding international convention on medical R&D. It was proposed that all states should commit to spending 0.01% of GDP on medical R&D focused on the diseases of the developing world, via a binding convention. Developing states should contribute more, and developed states the most.

This spending would be pooled in a funding mechanism, and then disbursed to incentivise research and capacity building.

The convention would be supplementary to current R&D funding, rather than a replacement to it. A composite approach would be taken to the way that the funding was disbursed, incorporating elements of open approaches to research and development and innovation, pooled funds, direct grants to companies, milestone prizes and end prizes and patent pools.

Notes

Chronology

2006 resolution details

2008 GSPA-PHI details

2010 EWG report details

2012 CEWG report details

Analysis

Scope: The global framework would encompass all aspects of R&D and those health issues which primarily affect developing nations.

Access: At various stages these proposals included references to delinkage, which were blocked by the US and other actors. There is no distribution incentive.

Innovation: The global framework does not explicitly incentivise health impact.

Efficiency: The grants element of the global framework would not be market-based, though the demand side of prizes would be.

Governability: The global framework would require the establishment of a new body to manage the fund. This would be costly and potentially politically fraught. As a composite approach, various aspects of the proposal would require extensive specification and evaluation, such as prize elements. The system would need to be robust against political interference.

Political Feasibility: The global framework would be complementary to the current patent system, making its adoption more feasible.

Relation to other proposals

Political strategy

Sources

Meta-point: there is no good single source explaining the chronology and development of these proposals.

General information:

“WHO | Meeting the Need for Treatment: The Initiatives.” WHO. Accessed June 26, 2017. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/5/news30506/en/.

Hollis, Adrian, and Thomas Pogge. The Health Impact Fund: Making New Medicines Accessible for All. Incentives for Global Health, 2008. http://healthimpactfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/hif_book.pdf.

Rufus Pollock, Open this Book.

“HOW A GLOBAL R&D CONVENTION COULD FILL THE GAPS LEFT BY TODAY’S MEDICAL INNOVATION SYSTEM.” MSF, 2012. https://www.msfaccess.org/sites/default/files/MSF_assets/Innovation/Docs/MedInno_Briefing_GlobalConventionRD_ENG_2012Update.pdf.

2006 CIPIH report: “Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights.” Report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health. 2006, 2006. http://www.who.int/intellectualproperty/documents/thereport/ENPublicHealthReport.pdf?ua=1.

2006 proposals:

Executive Board, 117. “[Global Framework On] Essential Health Research and Development,” 2006. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/20678.

World Health Assembly, 59. “[Global Framework On] Essential Health Research and Development,” 2006. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/21107.

2006 resolution: “WHA59.24: Public Health, Innovation, Essential Health Research and Intellectual Property Rights: Towards a Global Strategy and Plan of Action,” 2006. http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/october/tradoc_130884.pdf.

Commentary on the 2006 proposals:

Farlow, Andrew. “A Global Medical Research and Development Treaty: An Answer to Global Health Needs?” IPN Working Papers on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Health, 2007. http://www.andrewfarlow.com/global_medical_research_treaty.pdf.

James Love. “Prizes rather than Prices.” Le Monde Diplomatique, 2006.http://mondediplo.com/2006/06/20wha.

CPTech response to 2006 resolution - “Statement on WHA Passage of Historic Resolution on: Public Health, Innovation, Essential Health Research and Intellectual | On the Commons.” Accessed June 25, 2017. http://www.onthecommons.org/statement-wha-passage-historic-resolution-public-health-innovation-essential-health-research-and#sthash.xUXQ4qx1.dpbs.

Background on the IGWG: “WHO | Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG).” WHO. Accessed June 25, 2017. http://www.who.int/phi/igwg/en/.

2008 proposals: “GLOBAL STRATEGY ON PUBLIC HEALTH, INNOVATION AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.” WHA, 2008. http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA61-REC1/A61_Rec1-part2-en.pdf?ua=1.

2008 resolution: “WHA61.21: Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property.” WHA, 2008. http://www.wpro.who.int/health_research/policy_documents/global_strategy_may2008.pdf?ua=1.

Background on the EWG: “WHO | Proposals Considered and Evaluated by the Former Expert Working Group on R&D Financing and Coordination (EWG).” WHO. Accessed June 26, 2017. http://www.who.int/phi/news/cewg_proposals/en/.

2010 EWG report: “Research and Development - Coordination and Financing.” Report of the Expert Working Group on Research and Development Financing. WHO, 2010. http://www.who.int/phi/documents/RDFinancingEN.pdf?ua=1.

2010 resolution: “WHA63.28: Establishment of a Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination.” WHA, 2010. http://www.who.int/phi/news/wha_A63_R28_en.pdf.

Background on the CEWG:

“WHO | CEWG Demonstration Projects: Background and Process.” WHO. Accessed June 26, 2017. http://www.who.int/phi/implementation/cewg_background_process/en/.

“WHO | Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG).” WHO. Accessed June 26, 2017. http://www.who.int/phi/implementation/research/cewg-consultation/en/.

“WHO | Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG).” WHO. Accessed July 7, 2017. http://www.who.int/phi/news/cewg_2011_background/en/.

2012 CEWG report: “Research and Development to Meet Health Needs in Developing Countries: Strengthening Global Financing and Coordination.” Report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination. World Health Organisation, 2012. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/254706/1/9789241503457-eng.pdf?ua=1.

Commentary on the 2012 events:

“WHO | Towards a New Model for Pharmaceutical Research.” WHO. Accessed July 6, 2017. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/90/11/12-113712/en/.

May 29, and 2012. “Officials At WHA Fail To Agree On Convention ToEncourage R&D Into Health Issues In Developing Countries.” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2012. http://www.kff.org/news-summary/officials-at-wha-fail-to-agree-on-convention-to-encourage-rd-into-health-issues-in-developing-countries/.

R√łttingen, John-Arne, and Claudia Chamas. “A New Deal for Global Health R&D? The Recommendations of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development (CEWG).” PLOS Medicine 9, no. 5 (2012): e1001219. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001219.

Moon, Suerie, Jorge Bermudez, and Ellen ’t Hoen. “Innovation and Access to Medicines for Neglected Populations: Could a Treaty Address a Broken Pharmaceutical R&D System?” PLOS Medicine 9, no. 5 (2012): e1001218. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001218.

Resources:

2006 proposals: “CPTech Page on the 59th World Health Assembly.” Accessed July 7, 2017. http://www.cptech.org/ip/health/who/59wha/.

2012 proposals: “Medical Research and Development.” Knowledge Ecology International. Accessed July 7, 2017. https://www.keionline.org/medical-rnd.


  1. “WHO | Meeting the Need for Treatment.” [return]
  2. Hubbard, “Reply to the Comments Requested by IPIH and WHO to the CPTech Proposal for a Medical Research and Development Treaty (MRDT).” [return]
  3. May 29 and 2012, “Officials At WHA Fail To Agree On Convention To Encourage R&D Into Health Issues In Developing Countries.” [return]
  4. “WHA 65.22 Follow-up of the Report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing andCoordination.” [return]
  5. “WHA66.22 Follow up of the Report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination.” [return]
  6. “WHA69.23 Follow-up of the Report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination.” [return]