DNDi participated at the 168th session of the PAHO Executive Committee. Our Reg Policy Advocacy Adviser, Francisco Viegas, made the following interventions.
Agenda item 4.5 - Increasing production capacity for essential medicines and health technologies
DNDi welcomes the report. The main challenges identified are not new and DNDi urges Member States to accelerate action, in particular to:
- Promote and develop sustainable financing mechanisms to support R&D, which should separate the price of final products from the cost of R&D;
- Ensure TRIPS flexibilities are implemented in national legislations, with technical support from PAHO. Support the work on patent databases and pooling as well as other policies for the pro-access management of intellectual property to ensure timely and equitable access to health technologies to overcome IP barriers, when needed.
- Support regional and national regulatory agencies work on convergence and harmonization to strengthen regulatory processes, including collaborative regulatory and clinical trial registration, to ensure timely registration of health technologies.
- Implement transparency measures regarding the cost of R&D, which is key to ensuring fair pricing and a clear return on public investments in R&D. This need was widely cited at the recent Fair Pricing forum hosted by Argentina.
- Support initiatives that focus on the reinforcement of national or regional production of affordable medicines, API’s, and other health technologies for existing infectious, non-communicable and pandemic prone diseases. Whenever feasible, manufacturing needs should be mutualized across disease areas, demand pooled and common delivery and access mechanisms explored.
In relation to the resolution DNDi urges Member States to:
- Develop national policies to promote R&D, innovation, and access;
- Include treatments for endemic diseases of the region, such as neglected tropical diseases, in the definition of priority products for local production.
Agenda item 4.8 - Strategy for building resilient health systems and post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery to sustain and protect public health gains
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to strike hard the region and has amplified existing barriers in access to health between and within countries, particularly among populations affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Stockouts and disruption of medicines, limited prioritization of primary health care activities to other diseases than COVID-19, social and financial vulnerability, have increased and continue to threaten the response to NTDs.
Access to care for neglected populations is a key indicator of resilient and effective health systems, as the persistence and wide geographical spread of NTDs points to a general neglect by health systems of existing needs and priorities. Member states must also address the diagnostic, treatment, vaccines, and other technology gaps that hinder the effective treatment of patients and are required for the sustainable elimination of infectious diseases.
In order to address such challenges DNDi urges Member States to adopt and implement policies that:
- Promote primary health care initiatives that focus on the integration of NTDs in the “test and treat” and PMTCT strategies
- Prevent stockouts of key health inputs and contribute to the sustainability of supplies
- Prioritize investment in R&D and develop an innovation agenda that is focused on:
- Addressing existing diseases that disproportionally affect the region, in addition to future pandemic prone diseases
- Promoting health tools that are designed from the start for the places and people that need then so that they can reinforce health systems