Pharmaceutical companies could be made to disclose prices and deals agreed for any products they make to fight future global health emergencies, under new rules that would govern a World Health Organization-backed pandemic accord. [Source: reuters.com]
Anyone hoping that the World Health Organization (WHO) will fully implement these proposed rules would be well advised not to hold their breath. For one thing, the draft document is vague about what would happen if countries that sign up do not stick to its rules and if drug companies do not comply.
The proposal will also inevitably face resistance from the multinational drug industry, which has billions of dollars of potential profits at stake. Not only can the WHO not force the drug industry to follow its rules, it also receives a significant proportion of its funding from it. As such, whatever the WHO might say in public, it is not going to bite the hand that feeds it.
The idea furthermore seems likely to be opposed by countries for whom drug and vaccine sales are major sectors of their economies. Such countries, which include the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, among others, are major funders of the WHO. Behind the scenes, they too are likely to put pressure on the global body to water down the plan.
To read about the role of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as one of the WHO’s largest funders, see this article on our website.
To learn how the WHO seeks direct corporate funding through a group headed by a former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation official, see this article on our website.