Global Health Council, Inc.

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
11.7 Access to medicines and vaccines

Global Health Council, supported by GHTC, AAP, NCD Child, EGPAF, IFPA and MSH, welcomes the draft road map for access to medicines, vaccines and other health products. We encourage WHO and Member States to support a comprehensive approach to barriers to accessing essential health technologies and medicines. In particular, the high cost of health goods remains a global concern that threatens progress for many countries committed to universal health coverage. Greater transparency on drug prices, R&D investments, patents, and clinical trial outcomes would help to address high drug costs.

The draft road map promotes tailored strategies to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of health products and improving access to health products; however, the unique physiologic and pharmacokinetic requirements of children are ignored. Special efforts are needed to ensure that pediatric formulations are developed and introduced much faster and at an affordable cost, especially for life-saving drugs. All applications for inclusion of new medicines, changes or deletions to the Essential Medicines List should be evaluated for the EML for Children as well. This would require providing the necessary pediatric data or clarifying that it does not exist. We call on Member States to encourage more research and development on conditions uniquely affecting children, adolescents and young people.

We strongly support WHO’s goal to increase access to appropriate, affordable and effective diagnostics for low resource settings, and support WHO’s expansion of the Essential Diagnostic List. We support WHO’s efforts to address regulatory barriers to access which ensures both timely access to medicines, as well as appropriate safety guidelines and pharmacovigilance activities. Technical standards and assistance supporting systems to achieve these targets have historically been viewed as falling within WHO’s core technical mandate.