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U.S. cancelled India’s plea on reforms in medicine (Relevant for GS Prelims and GS Mains Paper II, III)

A month after the 140th World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Executive Board meeting, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) response has revealed that the United States government had opposed including agenda items proposed by India, which aimed at reforming medical innovation that currently pump up drug prices to unaffordable levels.

About the issue
The Indian government ,along with 11 South East Asian countries ,had proposed a discussion on an ‘Access to Medicines’ report by the United Nations High Level Panel that had recommended reforms in the funding of biomedical research and development.
However, the set of documents released by Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a not for profit organisation that gives technical advice to governments, reveals that both the United States and the WHO opposed including the proposal by India.
The 11 member-states are Bangladesh, Bhutan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste; as well as Brazil, Iran, and South Africa supported the inclusion of the agenda item.

Recommendations of U.N. Access to Medicines Report
The U.N. report says there is a need for an Research & Development treaty and it recommended reforms in the area of biomedical R&D. The funding for R&D would facilitate development of cheap and accessible medicines.

Criticism of US
The U.S. government has a policy of blocking all reforms that would lead to funding the R&D system. The funding for R&D would hamper pharmaceutical companies from securing patent over medicines.



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