Oxfam commends the WHO secretariat on producing the comprehensive and evidence-based report.
The report responds to the WHA resolution by providing an analysis of the current situation of pricing of cancer medicines and offers some options for member states to make medicines available and affordable to the people who need them.
A few years ago, the cost of global inaction on the high prices of HIV medicines was that poor people who had HIV lost their lives. Thanks to global campaigns and resulting action, now millions of people are alive due to low price of medicines. These are women, men and children who otherwise would have been dead.
The world must not wait any longer for patients with cancer to be able to have the medicines that can save their lives. The current high prices act to deepen global inequality where only the very rich can afford treatment while the rest of us have to go without.
Therefore, Oxfam urges the WHO to take proactive steps to:
1. Produce guidelines for the treatment of the different cancers. Such guidelines are essential for governments to design and implement national plans to tackle cancer. The guidelines are also critical to ensure that healthcare providers especially oncologists have the knowledge to provide quality cancer care.
2. Support countries to implement national measures to decrease the price of cancer medicines.
3. Advocate for global actions to address the price crisis, for example by promoting R&D mechanisms that delink financing R&D from the price of resulting products and transparency on the cost of R&D and prices.
Oxfam also urges member states to work with WHO to turn the proposed options into actions at both national and global levels.
Cancer does not differentiate between rich and poor but medicines do. This is not acceptable. Access to cancer treatment should be based on need not on ability to pay high prices.