Web-based consultation on the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG) on Research and Development: financing and coordination
World Health Assembly resolution WHA65.22 on Follow up of the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG) on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination “requests regional committees to discuss at their 2012 meetings the report of the CEWG in the context of the implementation of the global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property in order to contribute to concrete proposals and actions”.
The WHO Regional Office for Europe therefore ran a web-based consultation on the CEWG report, published in April 2012. The consultation ran from 30 July 2012 to 24 August 2012 (in English and Russian).
Feedback was requested to four questions on the four categories of CEWG recommendations:
- For each category are there elements of the report you see as feasible and in what way could they be pursued?
- Do you have any suggestions for strengthening each recommendation or for modified or alternative options?
- Do you have other comments on either the report or the issues in general?
- How can the CEWG work be taken forward concretely, both regionally and globally?
Five Member States submitted written responses.
- Responses complimented the good work of the CEWG and the report.
- They acknowledged that current rules for intellectual property rights and the current research and development model need review, and that now is a good time to develop specific mechanisms and incentives.
- Before tangible spending commitments or a binding coordination mechanism can be agreed, options need to be explored.
- Many individual recommendations/options could be pursued outside a binding framework.
Selected and specific feedback
- There was potential agreement in principle to a fixed gross domestic product (GDP) commitment, but any action is premature; at a minimum, gaps for priority areas need identifying first.
- Existing data need to be better validated first.
- A GDP commitment is doubtful; a proposal was made for a political declaration.
- An obligatory contribution was deemed “unacceptable”.
- Both positive and negative answers were given to the idea of using pooled funds.
Overall there was scope for increased national contributions, but on a voluntary basis with appropriate monitoring.
- There was support for WHO’s continued leading role in the global coordination and management of health research and development; and for better leveraging of existing initiatives and structures.
- WHO should be the lead institution, but coordination needs to involve other actors given the multisectoral nature of the proposals.
Overall there was agreement on the need for improved coordination and a new or revised structure/platform, but with a nuanced scope vis-à-vis the CEWG proposals.
- The scope for a convention needs to be agreed first; a suggestion was to include a broad public health focus.
- It is doubtful whether a convention is practically feasible.
Overall there was no immediate support for the current CEWG proposals, but options to explore included the coordination mechanism and the engagement of countries on a voluntary basis with appropriate monitoring.