sexta-feira, maio 19, 2006
Portugal deve apoiar resolução do Quénia na OMS
Governments Must Move Forward with Global R&D Framework at World Health Assembly
Geneva, 19 May 2006 – As health ministers meet in Geneva at the WorldHealth Assembly (WHA) next week, the medical humanitarian organisationMédecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling on governments to overhaul theway medical research and development (R&D) is prioritised and financed, andsupport a resolution proposed by Kenya and Brazil for a “global frameworkon essential health R&D.” Despite gathering increasing support from manygovernments, this resolution has faced consistent obstruction on the partof the WHO Secretariat.
The proposed resolution is boosted by the analysis and recommendationsreached by the report of the independent Commission on IntellectualProperty, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH), which was set up by the WHAin 2003. The report confirms that the current system, which relies onpatents to stimulate innovation, does not foster the necessary research toaddress the needs of billions of people in developing countries.
Tuberculosis is a perfect example of how the system is broken. “Despitemassive needs and close to two million deaths a year, we are still forcedto use a test that only detects half of all cases, and use long, cumbersomeand increasingly inefficient treatment,” said Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer,Director for R&D at MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines.
This is because the R&D system provides greater rewards for developingdrugs that sell well, rather than drugs that meet unaddressed health needs.Pharmaceutical companies therefore largely ignore the needs of patients indeveloping countries, while gearing their research towards wealthy markets.A new analysis by MSF shows that only 1% of the drugs reaching the marketin the three decades between 1974 and 2004 address neglected diseases suchas kala azar, sleeping sickness, or tuberculosis.
“The CIPIH report is a strong call for action by governments and WHO,” saidEllen ‘t Hoen, Director for Policy and Advocacy at MSF’s Access Campaign.“It’s been a long uphill struggle to get WHO interested in this question,and if you look at the enormous health needs out there, you think, how onearth is this the case?” she added.
“Governments need to commit to changing the rules of the game, or peoplewill continue to die because the diseases they suffer from don’t provideprofits,” said Dr. Rowan Gillies, International President of MSF, speakingat a press conference in Geneva. “If this WHA doesn’t come out with astrong initiative, paving the way for a new needs-driven R&D framework andsecuring its public financing, WHO and governments will have again missed avital opportunity to tackle urgent health needs,” he added.
Although product development is not a traditional activity for a medicalhumanitarian organisation, MSF increasingly has no choice but to act inthis field. After having been a co-founder of the Drugs for NeglectedDiseases Initiative (DNDi) three years ago, the organisation is nowcollaborating with the Diagnostics Development Unit at CambridgeUniversity, which is developing a much-needed simple, cheap and rapid HIVviral load test for use in resource-poor settings, called SAMBA (Simple AMplification BAsed nucleic acid test).
Right now, the difficulty of diagnosing HIV in small children inresource-poor settings is an obstacle to putting them on life-prolongingtreatment, so a simple and affordable test is an urgent priority. Ifsuccessfully developed, the SAMBA test will help diagnose HIV in infantsand improve treatment monitoring in adults.
“We are aiming to simplify current technologies so that children withHIV/AIDS can be diagnosed and virological failure can be detected on thespot, without the need for specialised facilities, highly trained personneland expensive equipment,” said Dr. Helen Lee, the researcher leading theproject at Cambridge University.
“We feel compelled to support the development of vital health tools,because industry is failing to address the needs of the most vulnerable,and governments and the WHO are not taking responsibility either,” said Dr.von Schoen-Angerer. “What we are doing is just a stopgap measure. Preciselythis kind of R&D is what needs to happen on a much wider scale, and needsto be supported through a global framework,” he added.