Patients speak out on global health and innovation - May 15, 2008

On May 15th (the eve of the 61st World Health Assembly), patient representatives from around the world gathered in Geneva to voice their concerns and provide recommendations on the draft plan of action as proposed by the WHO’s Intergovernmental Working Group on Innovation and Public Health (IGWG).

The following audio recordings from the patient meeting detail the key concerns and recommendations:

Outcomes from the Second Session of the IGWG

The World Health Organization’s Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG) met for the continuation of its second session in Geneva at the end of April.  While they didn’t achieve consensus on all elements of their draft plan, there were many areas of agreement.

Some of the points of consensus include:

The relationship between intellectual property (IP) rights & drug efficacy and safety

Without any meaningful input from patients, intense efforts are underway at the WHO to weaken – or dismantle – the system of intellectual property (IP) rights that has produced nearly every life-saving medicine that is available today.  On behalf of a variety of both public and private sector special interests, anti-IP NGOs are using the Intergovernmental Working Group on Intellectual Property and Public Health (IGWG) as a vehicle to weaken the rules for drug innovation and development by

Patients Matter and So Does Our Voice

In a previous posting on the evils of Big Pharma, Robert Weissman suggests, “a successful conclusion to ongoing negotiations at the World Health Organization (WHO) -- could yield dramatic public health benefits in the years and decades ahead.” This seems unlikely as the most important stakeholders – patients – have been left out of the process. Nowhere in IGWG’s draft strategy is the word “patient” even mentioned.

Patients -- the real stakeholders in global health

The response from Durhane Wong-Rieger of the Consumer Advocare Network to Robert Weissman's article 'Big Pharma Digs In' really hits home.  If patients aren't the key stakeholder in global health issues, then who is?

Comment by Durhane Wong Rieger:

Patients are the only stakeholders with a "life and death" stake in the WHO"s negotiations to meet needs of patients in poor countries. So why have patients been excluded from discussions?

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