Spain co-sponsors a resolution, but it does not include transparency for the costs of the I+D nor public investment.
The 72nd Global Health Assembly was held this past Tuesday, approving a historical resolution on market transparency for medicine, vaccinations and other sanitary products. It urges the OMS state members to make the prices paid for these products by governments public and aims to improve the public exchange of information on vital determining aspects, such patient status and the results from clinical trials.
A debate on this resolution prolonged for over 70 hours. According to the OMS the objective of the resolution is to help the states make more informed decisions when buying health products, negotiate affordable prices and expand access to health products for the entire population. These factors are key for the progression universal health coverage.
Unfortunately, the final section of the resolution has been subject to modification due to pressure exerted by various countries (Germany, UK, United States and Hungary) whom are against urging the pharmaceutical industry to be transparent on the cost of research and development—what are the industry’s key arguments to justify high pharmaceutical prices—and public investments in the health chain I+D.
Italy presented the resolution and is co-sponsored by a host of countries, including Spain, which has invested time in the negotiations and has, in various spaces of the World Health Organization, taken a strong position for adopting measures of transparency at all levels: not only with prices, but also the health costs of the I+D and public investments.
The approved resolution on transparency at the Global Health Assembly took a step in the right direction, but there is still much work to be done. Nevertheless, we at Salud por Derecho have recognized the absence of a commitment to transparency on the real costs of research and development, and public health investments in I+D, which would give countries greater capacity to negotiate prices for medicines and other sanitary products with the pharmaceutical industry. We have entered an era where drugs and treatments—especially those for more serious diseases—have reached outrageously high prices, endangering the sustainability of health systems in European countries and the entire world.