During the upcoming World Health Assembly, taking place from 22-31 May, a resolution on cancer is expected to be before the Assembly, following a discussion in January at the World Health Organization Executive Board with no consensus on the language (IPW, WIPO, 2 February 2017). According to a source, WHO delegates met today at the WHO. Some 25 delegations met to further discuss the resolution. A group of civil society organizations and health experts have sent a letter to delegates to this month’s annual World Health Assembly urging support for a study on the delink age of the costs of research and development from the prices of cancer medicines. Member states reportedly met on the issue today and are still undecided.
A group of 28 health non-governmental organizations and health experts sent a letter

[pdf] to support the language in the draft WHA cancer resolution calling for a feasibility study on delinkage. The letter argues that cancer medicine prices are too high, “they are not affordable or sustainable, and access to new cancer medicines in unequal and unfair.”
“None of the 56 novel cancer medicines approved by the US FDA [Food and Drug Administration] from 2010 to 2016 are included in the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (EML), and many are rationed or not reimbursed even in high income countries, because of the price,” the letter says.

EU Support

The EU responded that there is a widespread agreement by Member States on the need for a WHO cancer resolution to be adopted in May 2017. “The majority of the Resolution is accepted with great support,” the EU said, according to a copy of the letter. The letter notes the concerns of the EU about the increasing prices of cancer treatments, and states that the European Commission statement “advocates for a robust and comprehensive Cancer Resolution that can help drive national progress, particularly in low- and middle-income countries that face the biggest challenges of a rapidly growing cancer burden. Without mentioning the feasibility study, the letter says “the Cancer Resolution will be a landmark document for cancer and should call for the development and implementation of national cancer plans, population-based cancer registries, a world cancer report and a well-trained oncology workforce.”