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WHO Executive Board Meeting Discusses Global Initiative To Fund Research Of Diseases That Affect Developing Countries

“Hopes for a global convention aimed at kick starting research and development programs on diseases that particularly affect developing countries have been reignited after a meeting of the World Health Organization’s executive board,” BMJ reports. “A report [.pdf] commissioned by WHO and published last April recommended a convention that committed all countries to spending at least 0.01 percent of gross domestic product on research and development for diseases that disproportionately affected people in developing countries,” the journal writes, noting an agreement resulting from a November meeting on the issue “called on WHO to establish a global health research and development observatory, building on national and regional observatories with a view to ‘contributing to the identification of gaps and opportunities for health R&D.’”

But “Tomás Pippo, director of health economics at Argentina’s Ministry of Health, said that the November agreement represented progress of sorts but that his delegation and others were not happy about some parts of the agreement,” BMJ writes. “WHO lawyers called to the board meeting on 25 January ruled that negotiations on the issue could reopen after delegations from the European Union and United States tried to argue that the debate was closed,” the journal notes, adding, “The board decided to refer the discussion to the World Health Assembly (WHO’s decision making forum) in May.” According to BMJ, Pippo “said that he did not believe that there would be immediate progress at the assembly in May but that it was important to keep dialogue open” (Gulland, 2/1).