News and Opinions  –  2017

Member States to discuss innovation, access and conservation of antibiotics at the WHO

2017-11-01

Member States’ representatives will gather in Geneva on November 9-10 where the WHO is holding the second consultation on the Global Development and Stewardship Framework. In preparation, the WHO has prepared a draft roadmap to guide discussions. Issues such as research and development (R&D) priority setting, novel models of financing R&D, various ways to achieve affordable access to antibiotics, diagnostics, and vaccines, and plausible next steps in improving conservation of antibiotics will be on the table in what promises to be interesting and important discussions.

Importance of UNGA Declaration on AMR

Much has happened since the Global Action Plan was adopted in 2015. Most notably, the adoption of the UNGA Declaration in 2016 added stronger language on innovation, affordable access and conservation including by adopting the common principles for R&D recommended in the context of neglected diseases of affordability, effectiveness, equity and efficiency and that R&D is a shared responsibility. Moreover, it noted the importance of applying the concept of delinkage (defined as separating the cost of R&D from the price and sales volume of the end product) in order to achieve affordable prices and removing the economic incentive to maximize sales to enable stewardship policies.

The South Centre published a briefing last week on the added value of the UNGA Declaration on AMR to the Global action plan, which outlines five key areas: linking AMR to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development; Mobilizing financial and technical resources for developing countries; increasing investment in R&D through delinkage mechanisms; finalizing a global development and stewardship framework; and establishment of an inter-agency coordination group to provide recommendations to the UNGA on how to ensure sustained effective global action on AMR.

Incoherence with other processes

A range of policy documents, such as the report produced by the Boston Consulting Group and recommendation by the OECD (in collaboration with the WHO, OIE and FAO) for the G20 in Germany, has also been developed in the last years. However, these do not take the government adopted principles in the UNGA Declaration as their basis. Neither did the G20 Declaration from this year’s summit in Germany, which established an Innovation Hub for AMR which is supposed to address R&D barriers by bringing together researchers, policy experts, drugs companies, and government as well as non-government donors. It might even look into innovative financing models, such as pull incentives to re-engage pharmaceutical companies.

Member State consultation a chance for coherence

One point that will be particularly important for upcoming discussions in Geneva will be for Member states to clarify the relationship between the G20 innovation hub, the UNGA Declaration wording and the global Development and Stewardship Framework from the WHO, OIE and FAO to ensure greater coherence in terms of approach.