Agence France Presse (05.26.12) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The World Health Organization agreed Saturday to meet later
this year to address inequities in research and funding for
some of the developing world's deadliest diseases. Member
countries will review an expert panel's recommendations for a
binding convention addressing neglected tropical diseases, TB,
and others under-represented in research.
Earlier, the WHO decision-making body - the World Health
Assembly - met in Geneva and produced the Drugs for Neglected
Diseases initiative (DNDi). It asks WHO Director-General
Margaret Chan to "hold an open-ended member states meeting in
order to analyze the report and the feasibility of the
The DNDi asks governments and the private sector to increase
health research funding for diseases more greatly affecting
developing countries, calls for a "global binding instrument"
granting developing countries access to needed drugs and
technologies, and suggests member countries commit 0.01
percent of their GDP to fund the work.
Michelle Childs, policy director of Doctors Without Borders'
(DWB) access campaign, was "disappointed" there was not an
immediate move toward a research and development convention;
however, she noted countries' agreement to formalize
consideration of the recommendations and report to WHO by
DWB maintains that existing resources are cost-prohibitive and
fail to meet the needs of developing countries, such as more
effective treatments for drug-resistant TB, pediatric versions
of HIV medicines, and vaccines not requiring refrigeration.
"At this time of financial crisis," said DNDi spokesperson
Jean-Francois Alesandrini, "strong public commitment is needed
to ensure new and adapted medical tools are made available, at
an affordable price to neglected patients in developing