MPP’s statements at the 148th session of the WHO Executive Board
22 January 2021
Speaker: Mila Maistat
Item 7: Expanding access to effective treatments for cancer and rare and orphan diseases, including medicines, vaccines, medical devices, etc…
The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the report. We note that the document mentions the challenge of access to safe, appropriate, effective and quality-assured health products for cancer and orphan diseases.
Given that cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, with approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occurring in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), it is alarming to see the challenges that remain in having access to treatments for people in need.
As a global health community, we are still a long way from having sustainable access mechanisms that work in oncology and could deliver some of the new breakthrough treatments for cancer at affordable prices in LMICs. This is particularly true if compared to the achievements in terms of timely access to innovative drugs for communicable diseases. The challenge concerns new small molecule treatments and is even a bigger for biologics, let alone cell- and gene-therapies.
MPP is now working to apply its partnership model based on voluntary licensing with industry in non-communicable diseases, including cancer, to leverage its positive experience in HIV and viral hepatitis. As a first step, as mentioned by the paper, we have included new essential cancer medicines on our free patent database MedsPaL.
Being aware of the urgent demand from Member States for affordable cancer treatments, MPP stands ready to support WHO, Member States and other stakeholders to address the overarching challenge posed by the growing burden of cancer in LMICs.
Item 8: Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property
The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) welcomes the report and is committed to contributing further to the Strategy implementation, including in the context of Recommendation 18 of the Review panel.
MPP also welcomes discussions for a resolution on strengthening local production. We understand that some Member States asked about the role of MPP in supporting local production and would like to provide some clarifications. MPP works with a broad range of generic manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for the production and supply of affordable treatments in these countries. In most of our licences, any manufacturer from anywhere in the world can apply provided they meet key criteria, including stringent quality standards.
Currently we work with 21 manufacturers in five countries. With supply security now being a critical issue for COVID-19 technologies, we are developing new relationships in many more countries and we would like to assure Member States that MPP is committed to sub-licensing to new manufacturers provided always that they meet the required standards.