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Governments can ration access to cancer drugs, or break patent monopolies. Why is rationing so popular?:

KEI comments on Tibotec voluntary licenses of a new HIV-AIDS product

Today, Tibotec, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, announced it has signed voluntary licensing agreements with several Indian and South African generic companies to allow generic competition on a new HIV-AIDS treatment, the investigational non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor rilpivirine hydrochloride (TMC278) (rilpivirine hydrochloride), to certain developing countries.

Le Monde: L’OMS face à un nouveau conflit d’intérêts

The following is an article by Agathe Duparc which appeared on page four of the Sunday/Monday edition (23 January-24 January 2011) of Le Monde with a reference on the cover page. Below the article are two paragraphs providing readers with more background information on the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board. The third paragraph is the main quote highlighted in the print version. What is missing in this copy below is a cartoon accompanying the piece which shows a bespectacled man with a body of an octopus holding two syringes in a field of dollar signs.

Response to Mary Moran on managing conflicts of interest at the WHO CEWG

This is a response to an email message posted to a2k and ip-health by Dr. Mary Moran. Among other things, the missive raises the issue of what constitutes a conflict of interest, and also how such conflicts should be managed. Dr. Moran has asked for a response, and this is it.

Dear Dr. Moran,

WHO Executive Board accepts appointment of Herrling to Consultative Expert Working Group on R&D

After several days of negotiations, the 128th WHO Executive Board has accepted the nomination of Paul Herrling to the new WHO Consultative Expert Working Group on R&D Financing, despite the fact that Herrling is an executive of Novartis, and is the author of the IFPMA/Novartis/FRIND proposal and the co-author of the PDP Plus proposal, which will be considered by the CEWG.

Nine civil society groups write WHO Executive Board about conflict of interest on WHO R&D Financing group

On January 20, 2011, 9 civil society organizations sent a letter to the WHO Executive Board registering an objection to the selection of Dr. Paul Herrling of Novartis to the WHO Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination. The groups signing the letter were:

  • Déclaration de Berne - Berne Declaration
  • HAI Europe
  • HAI Global
  • Health GAP (Global Access Project)

WHO Conflict of Interest Guidelines

WHO has kindly made available its conflict of interest guidelines. Apparently they are not available from the public web page. Attached are two documents:

A few of the many interesting provisions follow:


Ska Keller tables MEP question on ethical aspects of pharmaceutical test data protection

On Tuesday the 18th of January 2010,German Green MEP Franziska Keller tabled this Parliamentary question: ska-keller.jpg

European members of WHO Executive Board take hard line on nomination of Novartis official to R&D group

At the 128th meeting of the WHO Executive Board (EB), the European members of the board are reportedly taking a hard line on the proposal by Switzerland to have Paul Herrling, an executive of Novartis, appointed to the WHO Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG) on R&D financing. Our earlier blogs on this controversy are available here and here).

US government urges WHO to support Medicines Patent Pool: Extract of US intervention on draft WHO HIV/AIDS strategy 2011–2015

On Tuesday's discussion at the 128th Executive Board on the Draft WHO HIV/AIDS strategy 2011–2015, the United States made a strong intervention (delivered by Dr. Nils Daulaire, Director, Office of Global Health Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services) in support of the Medicines Patent Pool drawing attention to the fact that the draft HIV/AIDS strategy while making reference to a more competitive market for ARVs, failed to recognized the importance of the Medicines Patent Pool.

Here below are the remarks of the US on this point:

Conflicts of Interest, and the WHO evaluation of the FRIND and the PDP Plus funding proposals by the CEWG

This note provide additional context for those who are just now following the issue of conflicts of interest and the WHO Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG) on R&D Financing.

The CEWG follows a controversial, flawed and failed effort by an earlier group, the WHO Expert Working Group (EWG) on R&D Financing, to:

The WHO EB debate over membership of the new R&D Financing consultative expert working group (CEWG)

At the end of the day on Monday, the 128 WHO Executive Board meeting took the agenda item for creation of a new R&D Financing consultative expert working group (CEWG). (Yesterday's blog on this topic is here)

World Health Organization Executive Board to create new consultative expert working group on R&D Financing

Today the WHO is expected to take up the Report by the Secretariat on "the Establishment of a consultative expert working group on research and development: financing and coordination." (link here).

Google hits by domain using search term "Gates Foundation"

The following reports the number of Google hits using the search term "gates foundation," with a site:domainname option, on January 7, 2011. The result is a count of the number of web pages (visible to Google) mentioning the Gates Foundation on a particular domain.

For example, the google search "gates foundation" identified 5,940 pages on the web site that have the exact phrase, "gates foundation."

Embedded content in television shows and films

Google hits for "health messages embedded in television" 275,000

Motivating Television Viewers to Become Organ Donors
Authors: Lauren Movius, Michael Cody, Grace Huang, Mandy Berkowitz, Susan Morgan
Corresponding Author: Lauren Movius, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California,

Life Technologies funds seven $1 million medical innovation prizes

On December 14, 2010, Life Technologies Corporation, which among other things owns Ion Torrent, which sells the Ion Personal Genome Machine sequencer, announced seven new medical innovation prizes. The first three prizes are related to improvements in the Ion semiconcudtor sequencing products. Each of the three sequencer prizes is funded at $1 million, and will be awarded to contestants that can achieve the following goals:

  1. produce twice as much sequence data,
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