World Health Assembly should adopt an international convention on global health R&D: Expert group

The expert working group advising WHO on research and development has recommended the May 2012 World Health Assembly adopt an international convention on research and development (R&D) that will bind member states to action and catalyze new knowledge for diseases that primarily affect the global poor but for which patents provide insufficient market incentives.

Writing in this week's PLoS Medicine, the chairpersons of the expert group, John-Arne Røttingen and Claudia Chamas, summarize the recommendations and report of the Consultative Working Group on (CEWG), which they say constitute a transformative change for achieving access to medicines.

The authors write: "We propose new strategies for how research in this area can be conducted and a new paradigm for how financial contributions should be determined based on the concept that both the costs and benefits of R&D should be shared. We recommend a role for WHO in the stronger coordination of R&D and suggest pooling of financial investments to secure efficient allocations to where demands and opportunities are identified through active participation of developing countries."

An international convention, the authors argue, "is a way to secure a systemic and sustainable solution since it creates a formalized platform for the future where countries can be held accountable."

More information: Røttingen J-A, Chamas C (2012) A New Deal for Global Health R&D? The Recommendations of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development (CEWG). PLoS Med 9(5): e1001219. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001219

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