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WHO Examining Ways To Reduce Global Drug Prices, Improve Access To Treatments

Intellectual Property Watch: WHO Members Urged To Support Resolution Delinking Cancer Drug Prices From R&D Costs
“A group of civil society organizations and health experts have sent a letter to delegates to this month’s annual World Health Assembly urging support for a study on the delinkage of the costs of research and development from the prices of cancer medicines. Member states reportedly met on the issue [Thursday] and are still undecided. During the upcoming World Health Assembly, taking place from 22-31 May, a resolution on cancer is expected to be before the Assembly, following a discussion in January at the World Health Organization Executive Board with no consensus on the language…” (Saez, 5/4).

Reuters: How drugmakers face global push-back on high prices
“Pharmaceutical companies are under fire around the world as a wave of new treatments for cancer and other serious conditions reach the market at ever rising prices, and the pressure looks set to increase. Next week the debate on drug pricing — a particularly heated topic in the United States — will move to Amsterdam as the Dutch government hosts a forum for World Health Organization (WHO) member states to promote ‘fair pricing’…” (Hirschler, 5/4).

Reuters: WHO to help bring cheap biosimilar cancer drugs to poor
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is to launch a pilot project this year to assess cheap copies of expensive biotech cancer drugs in a bid to make such medicines more widely available in poorer countries. The U.N. agency said on Thursday it would invite drugmakers in September to submit applications for prequalification of so-called biosimilar versions of two such drugs on its essential medicines list, Roche’s Rituxan and Herceptin…” (Hirschler, 5/4).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency to examine lower-cost ‘biosimilar’ drugs to expand access to cancer treatment
“…The decision comes after a two-day meeting in Geneva between WHO, national regulators, pharmaceutical industry groups, patient and civil society groups, payers, and policymakers to discuss ways to increase access to biotherapeutic medicines. WHO also plans to explore options for prequalifying insulin…” (5/4).

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