Medicus Mundi International

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Meeting: 
144th session of the Executive Board<br>24 January - 1 February 2019
Agenda Item: 
5.7.2 Cancer medicines
Statement: 

This statement by MMI is supported by PHM and UAEM. We thank the secretariat for its report, which accurately analyses the predominant model of innovation as expensive, inefficient, and unsustainable. Affordability of cancer medicines is a global problem. In all countries prices of cancer drugs continue to rise, impairing government's capacity to fulfill their obligations on the right to health.
Notwithstanding the role of the public sector, the ability to establish IP-protected monopolies is the main incentive driving R&D by private players. This drives up prices of cancer treatments, thus limiting access to these medicines and their health benefits. We share the view of the secretariat that the value-based pricing approach used by the pharmaceutical industry causes new cancer medicines to be priced out of reach. We support WHO’s effort to increase the affordability and accessibility of cancer medication. We appreciate the findings of the report, but urge MS to turn policy options into concrete actions. To ensure long-term financial sustainability of health care systems, strong pricing regulations and increased competition among companies will make treatments more affordable. Transparency in R&D and pricing will avoid the public paying twice for the development process, enabling public return from public investment. Furthermore, we call upon MS to make use of TRIPS-flexibilities, especially compulsory licenses, to ensure access to new and effective treatments. We urge MS to refrain from exerting political pressure to prevent the use of such measures.
Finally, we stress the importance of affordable, accessible, and adequate biotherapeutics more generally. These treatments currently lack effective competition, making them expensive, inaccessible, and burdensome for PH budgets. Obtaining market approval for generic biotherapeutics is extremely cumbersome and compromises access. We call upon WHO to amend the Biosimilar Guideline as mandated under WHA67.21