DeLinkage, transparency, watered down, but not entirely gone, in WHA cancer resolution

Today the negotiators closed out all of the brackets on the proposed resolution on cancer for the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA).   The last paragraph to be resolved was the one that UACT followed closely.   In earlier versions of the text, the paragraph called for transparency of prices and R&D costs, access gaps, and a feasibility study of delinkage.  In the final version, all of this was watered down, due to drug company lobbying, but there remains sufficient mandate for the WHO to do quite a bit, depending upon the views of the new WHO DG, who will be elected on Tuesday.  Specific references to delinkage are now gone, but “options that might enhance the affordability and accessibility of these medicines” remain, as does a report on the “relationship between inputs throughout the value chain and price setting.”   It is disappointing and indeed appalling that drug companies were able to block a specific reference to a feasibility study of delinkage, but also, an indication that drug companies think of delinkage as more feasible than they have acknowledged publicly.

UACT was among several groups and experts that wrote the negotiators about the delinkage feasibility study on May, 3, 2017.  (Blog and copy of letter  here).

A copy of the May 17 version of the text is attached, with added notes on the new May 19 language on OPT2.5Ter, which is as follows:

“(OP2.5 ter) to prepare a comprehensive technical report to the 144th Executive Board that examines pricing approaches, including transparency, and their impact on availability and affordability of medicines for the prevention and treatment of cancer, including any evidence of the benefits or unintended negative consequences, as well as incentives for cancer R&D investment and innovation of these measures, as well as the relationship between inputs throughout the value chain and price setting, financing gaps for cancer R&D, and options that might enhance the affordability and accessibility of these medicines; (AGREED AD REF)”  

The ad ref means “subject to agreement by another or others”