CIPIH Report could change the lives of neglected patients

[ Geneva – April 5, 2006 ]
DNDi welcomes the final report of the WHO’s Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH). The report clearly states that it is imperative for governments to set global health priorities and promote innovation to develop and deliver much-needed medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics adapted to the needs of the sick and neglected in developing countries.
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The report recognises that the burden of infectious diseases disproportionately affecting developing countries continues to increase. It states that the limited market cannot attract investment for innovation and that intellectual property rights are not an incentive in this area. The progress so far, by different players and public-private-partnerships to research and develop relevant health tools, is insufficient to change the situation.

As a first step, the report recommends the creation of a new, sustainable, global framework for R&D. The creation of this framework will need hands-on involvement of the public and private sectors, more partnerships and public funding, and a greater coordination role for the WHO.

“DNDi commends the Report’s recommendations. The current drug R&D model is failing millions in the poorer regions of the world where purchasing power is virtually non-existent and existing research capacities are underutilized. This Report brings hope of new treatments and diagnostics to neglected patients,” commented Dr Bernard Pecoul , Executive Director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi).

At the next World Health Assembly, DNDi hopes that the CIPIH Report, in tandem with the resolution EB117.R13 “Global Framework on Essential Health R&D” proposed by Kenya and Brazil and synergistic with the Report’s conclusions, will encourage the WHO and its member states to take concrete steps towards solving the problems identified.

In June 2005, DNDi and partners launched an R&D appeal urging governments to boost R&D for neglected diseases. The appeal, signed by over 4,000 scientists so far, will be submitted to the WHA in May 2006. With the CIPIH Report recommending increased government involvement, DNDi believes that the time is right for the appeal’s call to become reality.

“This May, for the very first time, several initiatives advocating the issue of extensive government support for a new global framework for R&D will be presented at the WHA. We strongly hope this means that the WHO, in collaboration with world governments, will devise novel mechanisms to develop and bring new drugs to the neglected,” said Dr Pecoul.

To view the CIPIH report (in 6 languages) online, please go to: http://www.who.int/intellectualproperty/documents/thereport

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) is an independent, not-for-profit drug development initiative established in 2003 by five public-sector research organisations – Kenya Medical Research Institute, Indian Council of Medical Research, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation Brazil, Malaysian Ministry of Health, and France’s Institut Pasteur; and Médecins Sans Frontières. T he UNICEF/ UNDP/World Bank/WHO’s Special Progra mme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) is a permanent observer to the initiative . With a current portfolio of 20 projects, DNDi aims to develop new, improved, and field-relevant drugs for neglected diseases, such as malaria, leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis, and Chagas disease that afflict the very poor in developing countries. DNDi also raises awareness about the need for greater R&D for neglected diseases and strengthens existing research capacity in disease-endemic countries. For further information, please consult www.dndi.org.

The R&D appeal was launched in June 2005 by DNDi and its founding partners, MSF, OxFam, BIOS Initiative. Supported initially by 18 Nobel laureates, more than 4,000 scientists have now signed on. Further information on the Appeal here

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Bernard Pecoul , contact Ann-Marie SEVCSIK at amsevcsik@dndi.org ; +1-646-258-8131 or +41 (0)79 814 9147)