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,
    developing countries.

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.

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