International Federation of Medical Students' Associations

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

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, supported by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, affirms that affordable medicines and vaccines are essential to achieving Universal Health Coverage. We affirm the centrality of accessible medicines and vaccines to disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, palliative care and rehabilitation.

We applaud the initiative taken by Italy to bring transparency to the forefront of the access to medicines debate. Given transnational investment flows, global trade in medicines and international cooperation in research and development, transparency requirements must also be standardised globally in order to be effective. We call upon Member States to work together to create minimum transparency standards.

As future medical professionals, we require all evidence about the medicines we prescribe to our patients, including efficacy, safety and economic considerations. We call upon Member States and the international academic community to commit to transparent research, including the publication of all clinical trials, including those with negative or insignificant findings. We also call upon WHO to use its technical expertise to contribute to collection and sharing of clinical research data.

Given substantial public investment in research and development, greater transparency is urgently needed in the flow of invested funds and the actual cost of manufacturing for medicines, vaccines and medical devices. WHO should increase its engagement with academia, to support the negotiation of licensing agreements with the private sector on publicly-funded technology.

Finally, we want to draw attention back to TRIPS flexibilities as an internationally accepted instrument to mitigate drug access barriers. We call upon the WHO to enable best practice sharing of the use of TRIPS flexibilities for public health, and continue to provide technical support where it is sought.

Thank you