GHTC joins civil society in urging G20 leaders to strengthen R&D to meet critical health challenges
GHTC joined civil society in urging G20 policymakers at today’s C20 meeting with the G20 Health Working Group to strengthen R&D to meet urgent health challenges, including achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and other health threats.
GHTC director Jamie Bay Nishi delivered remarks on advancing R&D for AMR at this face-to-face meeting with G20 officials, and the coalition provided input on broader civil society recommendations.
During the meeting, the C20 called for leaders of the world’s largest economies to recognize the central role R&D plays in achieving the G20 health priorities and to take the following actions:
Universal health coverage
- Recognize health and its enablers, including R&D, as a fundamental human right: The right to health guarantees the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, which includes the prevention, treatment, and control of disease. Strong and resilient health systems, robust R&D capacity, and equity and gender equality are vital to leaving no one behind.
- Provide sustainable financing to address urgent R&D gaps: G20 nations should commit new funding to address urgent gaps in the global response to COVID-19 and other emerging threats, including funding R&D for new diagnostics, treatments, vaccines, and other innovations. This should include support for multilateral institutions including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations [CEPI].
- Embrace access principles as central to these efforts: Any funding for R&D for new tools must attach public interest access principles to ensure that the end product is affordable, accessible, and available for everyone who needs it.
- Enhance coordination mechanisms for R&D: The creation of an R&D action package with the Global Health Security Agenda could ensure that country health system strengthening efforts include a focus on capacities to develop new drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other medical countermeasures.
- Drive collective action on AMR: Successfully diagnosing and treating more people with tuberculosis (TB) will help prevent the development and spread of drug-resistant TB, a key driver of the global threat of AMR. While G20 commitments on paper represent significant progress in the fight against TB, action on these has been fairly limited as of yet.
- Increase funding for TB R&D: This should align with member state commitments made in the political declaration of the United Nations High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (UNHLM) to “contribute appropriately” to TB R&D, which is in line with the new World Health Organization TB Research and Innovation Strategy. One way to do this is to benchmark funding against a target, such as 0.1 percent of gross domestic expenditure on R&D to be spent on TB R&D.
- Tackle market failure for AMR using drug-resistant TB as a pathfinder: The renewed global drive to tackle TB, following the UNHLM, will be incomplete without solving market failure for TB R&D. The G20 can drive this agenda by promoting a collaborative approach to TB R&D that includes push, pull, and pooling incentives, as well as principles of equity, access, affordability, and transparency. G20 countries should also engage with and provide ongoing support to the Global AMR R&D Collaboration Hub.