This week: 72nd World Health Assembly

From May 20-28, the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. Each year, senior health officials from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Member States gather there to discuss the WHO’s progress, new goals and global health agenda and challenges. Wemos will be present as well as a civil society organization and attend sessions on Financing for Health, the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being and Access to Medicines.

As the decision-making body of the WHO, the WHA (among others) determines the organization’s policies, appoints the Director-General, and approves the programme budget. On this year’s agenda are topics relevant to Wemos, like universal health coverage, access to medicines and vaccines, and the global strategy on human resources for health (HRH). For example, Italy has proposed an important resolution on improved transparency on medicines prices and R&D costs that has been stirring up a lot of debate and has the pharmaceutical industry on edge. Wemos is of the opinion that the resolution needs to be adopted in order to make more medicines become better available & affordable for all.


For Human resources for health, there is an update report on the Global Strategy for HRH and a report on the implementation of the WHO Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Workers. Both reports reveal interesting information on the state of efforts to remedy the global health workforce crisis. The information will prove relevant in view of the upcoming review of the WHO Code, scheduled for later this year, and in which Wemos will participate.


Global health advocates Amanda Banda, Corinne Hinlopen and Lisa Seidelmann, as well as Wemos director Mariëlle Bemelmans will attend the WHA. Stay tuned for a debrief on our visit!


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Recent News items

Ella Weggen Wemos Kassa BNNVARA

Abuse of orphan designation leads to exorbitant drug price


Pharmaceutical company Lupin Europe is aiming to bring an existing medicine for a rare muscle disease on the market under a new name and at a much higher price. The Dutch public television programme ‘Kassa’, with more than one million viewers, reported this on November 2nd, showing how this pharmaceutical company uses public research to increase its profit margins. “This is unjustifiable and even condemnable,” says Wemos’ global health advocate Ella Weggen in the programme.

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With prices of medicines skyrocketing under the current system of medicine development, the shortcomings of this R&D model are increasingly proving their right. Contributing to the search for possible alternative innovation mechanisms, Wemos, Health Action International and the University of Utrecht brought together representatives of government and academia on the 5th of November, with the event: LICENSING AND PUBLIC GENERATED KNOWLEDGE: SEEKING A SOCIALLY SUSTAINABLE BALANCE 

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