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  Herrling nomination to WHO CEWG on R&D is approved by the Executive Board
  24 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554 ดาวน์โหลดเอกสารฉบับเต็มที่นี่

Date: 21 January 2011


The wireless network is down at the WHO, so this is late.  This morning the WHO Executive Board reopened the discussions about the Consultative Expert Group on R&D Financing, and agreed to all 21 names proposed by the Secretariat.  If the event today seemed scripted, it was because the Secretariat negotiated with member states through last evening.  The basic deal was that if Herrling was not accepted, the Euro members and the US would block the most effective expert(s) supported by developing countries.  The Euro and US members purposely confused and conflated a complaint about an obvious conflict of
interest with a fight to get a strong pro pharma voice on the CEWG. They could have easily found a strong pro-industry voice for the CEWG that was not asking for funding from the CEWG, but they insisted on not only having a strong industry advocate, but also on demonstrating the WHO rules on conflict of interest mean nothing when it comes to industry particpation on panels.

The result was a damaging precedent for the WHO, which increasingly is being careless about its willingness to comprise ethical standards when it comes to influence by the pharmaceutical industry.  In this case, the influence was super direct. Herrling is not only a top executive for Novartis, one of the handful of giant  firms that dominate pharma markets, but he is the author and co-author respectively of the FRIND and PDP Plus proposals.

According to the WHO EB debate, the members of the CEWG will be asked to make disclosures of conflicts, and then they have to decide whether disclosure is a sufficient remedy, or whether it is necessary to limit or exclude particpation in certain aspects of their work.

The PDP Plus proposal, in its earlier versions, was a combination of IFPMA-Novartis-FRIND, the Mary Moran 80% subsidy for contracts with the private pharma companies, and the IAVI proposal to have governments guarentee bonds that would be paid back only when R&D efforts are successful.  In all three cases, details of transparency, governance, ownership of IPR (including outside of narrowly defined fields of use), and conflicts of interest are important.  Of course, having Herrling appointed to the CEWG raises the question of how the FRIND would deal with conflicts of interest, when managing up to ten
billion in R&D funding.

Keywords: WHO / R&D Financing / CEWG