Sign up! Geneva Health Files Newsletter

Dear Readers, Thank you for your continued support to Geneva Health Files. We have been encouraged by your interest in keeping track of how key decisions in global health are being shaped in Geneva. Soon, we are starting a weekly newsletter. This will bring you deep dives on key global health issues, and relevant, curated content, delivered directly to your inbox. Given fast-moving developments on policies and politics in global health, we have decided to share our stories in a newsletter format so that you do not miss out on important analyses. Early results from our on-going survey on readership, show that … Continue reading Sign up! Geneva Health Files Newsletter

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“Policy Coherence” in the pandemic?

What the trilateral report on public health, IP and trade, says on the pandemic? A range of policy options drawn from different disciplines, is shaping the response to the pandemic, particularly in making medical products more accessible. From the use of flexibilities in copyrights for text and data mining to help drug discovery, to the use of competition policy to improve access to testing; from temporarily relaxing procurement rules, to easing regulatory processes; among many others. Many may lament that the pandemic is yet to witness any meaningful sharing of information and technologies. And yet, these limitations are in part … Continue reading “Policy Coherence” in the pandemic?

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WHO on the checks & balances for COVID-19 vaccines

As Russia approves a vaccine to fight against SARS-Cov-2, it is useful to note what global authorities, including WHO have said about the checks and balances in vaccine development in the context of COVID-19. Here is what Dr Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist has had to say about the processes around vaccine development in a recent conversation online. This was first broadcast by WHO on July 24, 2020, as an interaction on social media, moderated by Dr Margaret Harris. The following has been lightly edited for length and clarity. [There have been developments since, see Draft landscape of COVID-19 candidate … Continue reading WHO on the checks & balances for COVID-19 vaccines

The re-emergence of the WTO as a key forum for global health

ANALYSIS OF THE TRIPS COUNCIL MEETING JULY 30,2020 The coronavirus pandemic is slowly, but surely casting the World Trade Organization as a significant platform that could witness systematic efforts at the multilateral level to ensure better access to health products. This could be in the form of more formal deliberations amongst members to find ways to neutralise barriers to intellectual property, and not just patents, but other types of constraints that have affected access to diagnostics and health technologies. This pandemic has already brought into sharp focus, the inability to quickly provide essential diagnostics and medical products as a result … Continue reading The re-emergence of the WTO as a key forum for global health

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Trade in the time of the pandemic

THE TRADE IN MEDICAL PRODUCTS: THE STATE OF PLAY With every passing week in the prevailing pandemic, there is an urgency to understand and provide for the access to medical products and services. But what constitutes the trade in these crucial products? Who sells, who buys, how does it flow and what happens if it doesn’t? Geneva Health Files looks closely at the story of international trade that makes available medicines and medical services within existing constraints. The pandemic has shown how the restrictions in these pathways, puts the most vulnerable communities at risk of lacking access to both. The … Continue reading Trade in the time of the pandemic

Seeking Feedback from Readers

Dear Readers,  For nearly three months, Geneva Health Files has been tracking the governance of global health, bringing you stories and analyses from the epicenter of international health policy-making. I have been deeply encouraged by my readers. Here is a short survey to understand reader preferences and expectations: I look forward to hearing your suggestions and criticisms to shape this reporting service as we go along. I can be reached at Thank you for your time.  Sincerely, Priti PatnaikFounding EditorGeneva Health Files Continue reading Seeking Feedback from Readers

The Three Month Mark: Geneva Health Files

Geneva Health Files completes three months – here’s what was covered Here is a recap of the stories since May 2020: Key global health coverage that included exclusive reporting and analyses on COVID19 Response Resolution, COVID-19 Tech Pool, the WHO Allocation Framework, Gavi’s Covax Facility and matters at WTO. July 2020 Resigning to supply constraints: WHO’s Allocation Framework – WHO’s Allocation Framework on COVID19 health products – GAVI COVAX FACILITY: Questions on access, pricing & governance – COVID-19 Omnibus Resolution at the UN – June 2020 COVID-19 Tech Platform – Countries pass up opportunity for a … Continue reading The Three Month Mark: Geneva Health Files

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Elections at the World Trade Organization

Rising protectionism sparks keen interest in saving the multilateral trading system   As home to World Health Organization, Geneva is already at the centre of pandemic-related policy making. Last week saw yet another flurry of activity, on the shores of Lac Léman – at the World Trade Organization. Face-masked officials accompanied interested candidates who were there to present their case to become the next chief of the international trade body. At a time when WTO’s leadership is needed most, when world merchandise trade could fall by a third, the current WTO Chief Roberto Azevêdo will step down at the end … Continue reading Elections at the World Trade Organization

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Giving in to supply constraints: WHO’s Allocation Plan

New Details on WHO’s Draft Allocation Framework – A Deep Dive With more than 13 million cases of COVID19 in mid-July 2020, and rising, WHO has an unenviable and difficult task at hand, to map and decide who gets vaccines and medicines first. As expected, as it works its way on devising an allocation framework (first reported here), it is inevitably having to wrestle with politically contentious decisions in the backdrop of rising vaccine nationalism and countries striking up bilateral deals with drug companies. It will have to decide, and soon, if it will tackle head on – the elephant … Continue reading Giving in to supply constraints: WHO’s Allocation Plan

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COVID-19 Omnibus Resolution at the UN

Institutional responses to the pandemic continue to be shaped by international organizations in an effort to improve coordination and streamline processes to deal with COVID-19 in an uneven world characterised by weak health systems, differing approaches to science and varying commitments to address human rights issues. Under the aegis of the UN General Assembly, countries are working on a draft omnibus resolution on the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, an “omnibus resolution” longer than usual resolutions, relating to all aspects of a particular issue, containing more information and seeking specific action from governments. While not binding, UNGA resolutions do serve as a … Continue reading COVID-19 Omnibus Resolution at the UN