News

Analysis and policy recommendations on the accountability at the EMA

Since the COVID-19 crisis has started, we have seen governments pressuring their own regulatory agencies to speed up the process of marketing authorisation. To make sure that this marketing authorisation process is done independently and transparently, the concept of accountability is key. Over the last year Wemos has conducted a qualitative analysis on the concept of accountability at the European Medicine Agency (EMA) and the perception hereof for different stakeholders in the process of marketing authorisation. Additionally, Wemos has looked into the risk of bias in Pre-Submission Activities (PSAs). This analysis lead to several policy recommendations in order to improve EMA’s accountability and to have better safeguards regarding risk of bias in PSAs.

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Dutch Aid & Trade in health at odds with health equity

For the last 10 years, the Netherlands has been pursuing an Aid & Trade agenda. It combines development in low and middle-income countries (Aid) with the interests of Dutch companies and investors in these countries (Trade). The idea is to create a win-win situation. Our paper ‘In the interest of Health for All?’ shows that this agenda is also being rolled out in Africa’s health sector, strengthening the private-for-profit sector in healthcare delivery. We wanted to know what the Aid & Trade (A&T) policy instruments look like and what their impact is on health systems and progress towards universal health coverage (UHC).

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How COVID-19 test kit producer Qiagen receives public money but avoids taxes

New research by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) shows that the German coronavirus test producer Qiagen has been able to dodge millions of euros in tax since 2010 thanks to tax avoidance constructions in Ireland, Luxembourg, the US and Malta. Qiagen is one of the world’s leading producers of coronavirus test kits and is currently benefiting from mass orders from governments around the world. It is one of the major suppliers of COVID-19 test kits in the US. Wemos and SOMO reveal that the biotech giant also received huge amounts of public funding from the US and the Netherlands, among others.

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European Health Forum Gastein 2020: UHC and the role of the health workforce

On Wednesday September 30th, Wemos’ global health advocate Corinne Hinlopen will take part in a panel discussion on ‘Universal health coverage and the role of the health workforce: Building on the momentum from COVID-19’. The panel discussion is part of the programme of the European Health Forum Gastein (30 Sept. – 2 Oct.) with the overall theme ‘Dancing with elephants: New partnerships for health, democracy, business.’

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Health workers on the move (again): another look at the WHO Code of Practice

In 2010, the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel (or ‘the Code’) was adopted after strong calls for joint, global measures to address the international recruitment of health personnel. In our new factsheet, we look into the key takeaways from the second Expert Advisory Group (EAG) report, which reviews the Code every five years, and some recommendations on concrete actions civil society can take.

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Political youth and civil society organisations demand socially responsible medicine development

License to Heal, a coalition of political youth organisations, and civil society organisations Wemos and the Commons Network have chosen not to sign an agreement of the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) on socially responsible licensing. Licensing is the process in which a knowledge institution gives legal permission to a private party to further develop an invention or innovation. In an opinion piece in the Dutch daily paper De Volkskrant, License to Heal, Wemos and Commons Network argue that the tension between commercial and social interests has led to a missed opportunity to improve access to medicines for patients.

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This is how we can counteract vaccine nationalism

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, national governments have been scrambling to secure treatments and vaccines that are currently in development. These efforts, being dubbed the relatively new term ‘vaccine nationalism’, will ultimately hamper equitable access to much needed COVID-19 technologies. Countries should rather embrace a Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), says global health advocate Tom Buis in his new article in MBt magazine.

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