The Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development:
Financing and Coordination (CEWG) held its third meeting on 16-19 November 2011 in Geneva
In its report, the CEWG proposes recommendations on the following lines:
- Supporting an Open Knowledge Innovation approach including the use
- Equitable licensing
- Patent pools
- Precompetitive R&D platforms/open source and access
- Prizes, in particular milestone prizes.
- Direct grants to small and medium companies in developing countries.
- Pooled funding mechanism.
- A binding global instrument for health R&D covering both financing and
- The need for strengthening global coordination of efforts to address
R&D for developing countries and the importance of WHO’s role in such
- The importance of building R&D capacity in, and technology transfer to,
CEWG concluded that a binding instrument should be established under article 19 of the WHO constitution for R&D related to Type II and III diseases and the specific R&D needs of developing countries in relation to Type I diseases. The CEWG considered that such a convention might incorporate the following principles:
- Open knowledge innovation, de-linkage, competition, enhanced access and
strengthening of innovative capacity in developing countries
- A global coordination mechanism
- Increased and committed public investment
- A mechanism for redistributing resources
- Pooling of funds to meet these aims.
The CEWG saw the convention not as a replacement for the existing IPR system, but as a supplementary instrument where the current system does not function.
Financing of R&D: the CEWG emphasized the importance of government commitment and considered a number of options for quantifying that commitment:
• Total public funding of health R&D: 2% of health budget (to be defined as proportion of GDP)
• Public funding of R&D on technologies in the CEWG mandate (proportion of GDP)
• Public funding to global pool (To be defined as proportion of GDP)
• Proportion of health development aid (ODA) to health R&D: 5% (As proposed by the Commission on Health Research for Development in 1990)
Options and principles for raising additional funding for R&D:
• Governments may consider different forms of revenue generation to meet the proposed funding commitments
• Taxes on activities harmful to health (e.g. tobacco, alcohol) may be
appropriate and earmarked, inter alia, for health R&D
• If member states introduce international indirect taxation to finance global
public goods e.g. a tax on financial transactions, a portion of the revenues
generated may be dedicated to global health R&D
• Voluntary private funding to a global pooled funding mechanism may be
On 18 November 2011 the Chair, Professor John-Arne Røttingen, provided a
briefing on the main outcomes of the meeting to Geneva-based missions and other interested stakeholders.
The report will be completed by the first quarter of 2012.