William New

WHO: New directors in leadership team selected on merit first

The new World Health Organization director general last month announced a range of officials to serve as programme directors, touting the unusual achievement of naming almost all women to add to an overall women’s majority in the senior leadership of the organisation – a first for the UN. Now after some questions arose over the choice of a Russian official to head up efforts against tuberculosis, the WHO defended its choices as fully merit-based, including in an email to Intellectual Property Watch and its sister publication Global Health Policy News.

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WHO, stakeholders take ‘first step’ on fair pricing for medicines

The World Health Organization has concluded a major one-day forum on fair pricing of medicines, bringing a wide range of stakeholders together in Amsterdam and coming up with several possible actions for the way ahead. Key points of discussion included a definition of fair pricing, moving away from value-based pricing, delinkage of price from research and development costs, and greater transparency, according to participants.

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WHO Advisory Group report on Fair Pricing Forum released

The report from a meeting of a World Health Organization informal advisory group on challenges of medicines pricing and organising a Fair Pricing Forum this spring has been made public. The report shows the analysis and assertions of the diverse group, as well as questions and plans to take forward.

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UN Secretary-General urges action on High-Level Panel report on medicines access

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a message praising the “milestone” report of a High-Level Panel on access to medicines he set up a year ago to address the continuing problem of medicines prices being too high for many in the world to afford, and the lack of access to quality medicines for many. In his message, he called on governments to review the report and its recommendations, and to chart a way forward to address the problem of lack of access to medicines and health technologies.

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Antibiotic resistance is “already here” and pipeline is dry, UK health minister tells UN

NEW YORK, June 8, 2016 — An estimated one million people may already die each year because they are resistant to all known antibiotics, and the number could reach 10 million per year and devastate the world economy by 2050 unless key steps are taken, experts from the United Kingdom and South Africa told a press briefing on antimicrobial resistance at United Nations headquarters today.  

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Shift in discussions about R&D at this week’s World Health Assembly

May 26, 2016 - Public health advocates – and many nations – had high hopes that this year’s World Health Assembly could finally agree on some alternative ways to fund research and development that can lead to affordable medical products by de-linking R&D costs from prices, through the long-awaited discussion of a landmark 2012 report of a WHO expert group on medical R&D. This week, that discussion has spread across the highest profile topics of the week such as antimicrobial resistance and emergencies, but some are concerned that the public health safeguards recommended by the expert group may be being left behind.

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2016 ‘most important year for antimicrobial resistance in our lifetime’ – WHO official

May 23, 2016 - This year is profoundly important in humanity’s future ability to stave off resistance to antibiotics and other medicines, a top World Health Organization official said on the eve of this week’s annual World Health Assembly.

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Public health advocates urge WHO action on alternative R&D financing

Public health advocates last week told World Health Organization delegates they must act quickly to save the lives of poor populations suffering from less common diseases for which there is no research and development funding. Nongovernmental organisations showed up to a WHO meeting on the issue to urge on delegates, even holding a public demonstration in front of the UN, but there was concern afterward at the little progress made.

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As patients wait, WHO members chip away at decision on medical R&D funding

09/05/2016 - A number of World Health Organization member states attended a meeting last week aimed finding ways to sustainably finance research and development for medical products, especially those for poor populations lacking means to pay high prices. According to the outcome document and a WHO official, they heard many viewpoints from experts and made progress but much was left for the World Health Assembly later this month.

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UN High-Level Panel: Ideas for change to global health and intellectual property system proliferate

Public health advocates, academics, patients, governments and others this week presented further ideas to the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines on ways to break the longstanding pattern of expensive medical products around the world as a way to pay for research and development.

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