DATE: Thursday May 9, 2019

RE: Civil Society Open Letter Regarding Harmful Changes to WHA Transparency Resolution

9 May 2019 – Today more than 100 civil society organizations and health experts sent an open letter to World Health Organization (WHO) Member State delegates urging them to oppose harmful proposed changes to the draft World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution on transparency to be discussed at the 72nd WHA on May 20-28, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The groups and individuals signing the open letter said they were appalled at proposals put forth at informal negotiations at the WHO on Tuesday May 7, 2019, which, “would make this resolution confusing, weak and practically useless in many areas.”

The open letter called on delegates, “to stand up for a resolution that will be effective in empowering governments and the public to have greater transparency and more equal access to information, in order to have greater power in dealing with the crisis in the pricing of medical technologies.”

The proposed resolution on transparency at the WHA would give the World Health Organization and national governments strong mandates to collect and analyze data on drug prices, R&D costs, clinical trial results and costs, patent landscapes, and more. An April 29 version of the resolution had ten co-sponsors: Italy, Greece, Malaysia, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, and Uganda.

The strong support for the letter’s quick publication (which comes on the eve of the delegates resuming informals on Friday May 10, 2019), serves to illustrate the urgent need for greater transparency of these issues.

A table that shows the 61 proposed changes in the resolution is available here: “Comparison between April 29 and May 7 version of WHA 72 resolution on transparency.” KEI Blog. 8 May 2019.

A PDF version of the open letter is available here.