Opening Statement by India at the WHO Member State consultations on the Draft Roadmap for access to medicines and vaccines 2019-23 - Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

Permanent Mission of India

Geneva

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Opening Statement by India at the WHO Member State consultations on the Draft Roadmap for access to medicines and vaccines 2019-23 – Delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary

1. We thank the Secretariat for submitting the zero draft and organizing these consultations.

2. We have already shared our detailed comments on the draft text with the Secretariat and request it to make publicly available all inputs received from the various stakeholders. WHO and the international community at large have rightly been striving to achieve health for all and now the Universal Health Coverage. It is precisely in the letter and spirit of this goal that we strongly suggest that the Roadmap should be titled ‘Roadmap for access to medicines and vaccines for all’.

3. We take this opportunity to highlight some of our specific suggestions.

4. The Roadmap should define ‘Access to medicines and vaccines for all’ in a manner that is practically measurable for periodic reporting on the progress made.

5. The Roadmap should provide a more comprehensive background to the issue under the ‘Introduction and rationale’ section and could include mention of the the rising prices, persisting global shortages and stock outs of even essential medicines, relation between poverty and access, use of traditional and complementary medicines to help improve access by providing greater choice, problems such as antimicrobial resistance among other things.

6. In terms of structure, the Roadmap should state the broad goals and specific objectives to be achieved through the listed strategic activity areas. The broad goal could be: Ensuring access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines for all, one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, for achieving universal health coverage and enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, a fundamental human right. The specific objectives of the roadmap could include (illustrative):

  • Address global shortages in supply and availability of medicines and vaccines;
  • Ensure continuous availability of medicines and vaccines for all at affordable prices through fair and transparent pricing;
  • Support strengthening of the health systems including for collection and management of useful and relevant data and information fully taking into account privacy and security related concerns.
  • Help build necessary national health system capacities in terms of financial, technical and human resource;
  • Strengthen regulatory systems that ensure access and affordability of quality, safe and efficacious medicines and vaccines;
  • Promote rational use of medicines and vaccines including use of traditional and complementary medicines;
  • Promote Research & Development of medicines and vaccines that meet public health needs and address global health emergencies; foster innovation, technology transfer and de-linkage of R & D costs; generic substitution and local manufacturing of medicines and vaccines;
  • Fully exploit new and emerging technologies including digital technology for enhancing access to medicines and vaccines;
  • Promote the flexible application, management and full use of TRIPS to meet public health objectives through access to medicines and vaccines;
  • Mobilize all necessary international support, cooperation and resources and foster partnerships for access to medicines and vaccines in the spirit of solidarity.

7. As regards the concluding part, specific and actionable targets and indicators as deliverables should be identified and a timeframe set for achieving the stated objectives through clearly identified and aligned strategic activity areas. These activity areas should be organically linked to the Programme Budget, WHO Action Plans, 13th GPW 2019-23 and the UN SDGs 2030. The Secretariat should prepare a matrix table to show these linkages and monitor progress as per the timeframe. The current listing of general deliverables and its timeframe as ‘ongoing’ may not serve much purpose under a Roadmap.

8. Needless to state that the 13th GPW 2019-23 outcome relevant to the Roadmap is not merely Outcome 1, as currently mentioned, but all the three outcomes and especially Outcome 3 (Serving the vulnerable).

9. Further, we have proposed changes to the ten strategic activity areas identified in the draft Roadmap to align them with its objectives and offered the following suggestions for inclusion in the text:

  • Support and promote push and pull de-linkage through open collaborative research, PPP, PDP & other pooled fund mechanisms for R & D (under strategic activity area 1)
  • Promote the use and development of generics and expand the use of Medicines Patent Pool to other diseases and vaccines and technologies (under strategic activity area 3)
  • Evolve a WHO model law on maximizing use of existing and new TRIPS flexibilities and competition laws for public health (under strategic activity area 3)
  • Promote TRIPS flexibility plus approach to public health in response to TRIPS + provisions (under strategic activity area 3)
  • Launch Global Medicines and Vaccines Supply and Price Monitor (under strategic activity area 4)

10. It may be worth emphasizing in the Roadmap that right to health is a fundamental human right of individuals, grounded in their inherent dignity and equal worth, while IPR is a legal right of individuals or entities and that human rights take precedence over a legal right. This fact is acknowledged in the provisioning of TRIPS flexibilities for the cause of public health. IPR is only one of the ways to promote innovation and its application should not be at the expense of fundamental human rights. In this context, the WHO should optimally utilize its limited resources to fulfill its clear mandate related to protection and promotion of global public health through pro-active action, assistance, advocacy and alliances.

11. Lastly, the Roadmap should acknowledge that health for all and UHC requires progressive access to all health products, technologies and services including and not limited to medicines and vaccines. The Roadmap should aim at paving the way for this.

12. We hope that our suggestions and constructive engagement would help enrich and strengthen the WHO roadmap to achieve genuine access to medicines and vaccines for all.

Thank you.

10 September 2018

 
Health
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