Such a convention would require all governments to contribute financially to support R&D in key priority areas and would crucially separate—or de-link—the cost of R&D from the price of medical products, so that these are made affordable.
“Our medical staff know what it means to be in front a sick patient and not have the medicines or tools to treat them because they’re too expensive or they just don’t exist,” said Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Executive Director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “People in developing countries have waited too long for there to be a global response to their health needs—we can’t afford to stand by and watch a handful of developed countries derail this effort.”
A binding global R&D convention was one of the key recommendations of a landmark expert report issued in April by the World Health Organization that examined the critical gaps in health R&D in developing countries. Discussions among governments this week have revealed there is broad support to move toward a convention, especially among developing countries such as key emerging economies that are ready to take on a bigger role in health R&D.
“We are especially surprised to see the US taking such a hardline position, since they already meet the level of financial contributions to medical R&D suggested in the expert report,” said Michelle Childs, Director of Policy and Advocacy at MSF’s Access Campaign. “It’s high time that all countries move towards a sustainable solution to fix the market failure of the current R&D model and meet the needs of the majority of people on the planet. Developed countries must stop blocking progress.”