WHO approves the Italian proposal on the transparency of drug prices

We report the declaration of the Minister of Health

Today is a historic day: WHO approved our resolution on transparency of the price of medicines with the yes of 194 countries.

A revolution that will open scenarios of greater equity in access to care.

Until now, questioning the criteria of medicine prices has been taboo, but now something has changed. The WHO decision opens a new course in drug price negotiations, establishing a principle of transparency from which there is no turning back.

When we started working on the text of the resolution, very few believed we would go through with it. And many have called us visionaries, dreamers.

But today I say loud and clear that without a dream, without a vision, no change is possible.

The WHOLE WORLD believed in our motion for a resolution which represents a challenge for greater equity in access to care and now the States will undertake to adopt the principles that we have brought forward so that there are no longer any barriers to the right to health.

Finally, new standards for transparency will help every country in negotiating the prices of medicines: from the "basic" ones to the most innovative therapies that only a few can afford today.

The scenario must change, the world is asking for the revolution of transparency so that everyone, even people in difficulty, can have the right to be treated and to give their children a different future.

Giulia Grillo

The text approved by WHO

Statement from the Ministry of Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) says "yes" to the Italian resolution on drug price transparency. The World Health Assembly, the legislative body of the WHO meeting these days in Geneva, today adopted the text - the result of several negotiations and rounded off compared to the first version - of the proposal which commits the Member States to sharing information on the prices of medicines, but also on patents and the results of clinical trials.

The final text of the resolution was presented by Italy, Brazil, Egypt, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), Greece, India, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Portugal, Russia, Andorra, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka and Uganda. This morning, before the vote, four other countries joined: Uruguay, Indonesia, Botswana and Algeria.

The text urges Member States to improve public sharing of information on the actual prices paid by governments and other purchasers for healthcare products and greater transparency on pharmaceutical patents, clinical trial results and other price drivers at every stage of the chain: from the laboratory to the patient's medicine cabinet.

“The goal – explains the WHO in a statement – is to help Member States make more informed decisions in the purchase of health products, negotiate more affordable prices and ultimately expand access to health products for the populations. Guaranteeing access to medicines – concludes the WHO – is the key to advancing universal health coverage”.

Taken from AboutPharma dated May 28, 2019

The differences between the proposed text and the approved text

A small number of countries, including Germany, Switzerland, the United States and the United Kingdom, had "asked" for a more flexible text. 

A consensus was finally reached on Tuesday, allowing for the formal adoption of the resolution by member states. 

However, the adopted text has been largely mitigated, especially as regards transparency on clinical trials and drug production costs. 

The supporters of the resolution have managed to maintain the principle of price transparency in the final text, in fact the document states that it is invited to "take the necessary measures to publicly share information on the net price". 

But while the initial plan invited states to "demand the dissemination of the results and costs of human clinical trials", the adopted resolution limits itself to asking them to intervene to "support the dissemination and better availability of data, results and - if they are already published or voluntarily made available – the cost of clinical trials”. 

The resolution simply calls on states to “improve the reporting of vendor information about approved health products, for example, income, price, unit sales, selling expenses and subsidy reports” while the initial plan “called for be made public” the information. 

The resolution also calls on states to improve "public notification information on the patent situation and the marketing authorization of health products", while the project presented by Italy called on countries to "improve transparency regarding patents .” 

Last week, some fifty non-governmental organizations, including MSF and Médecins du Monde, had called for the adoption of a "strong" resolution.

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