Report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines. Promoting innovation and access to health technologies. September 2016
(2016; 70 pages)


According to a High-Level Panel convened to advise the UN Secretary-General on improving access to medicines, the world must take bold new approaches to both health technology innovation and ensuring access so that all people can benefit from the medical advances that have dramatically improved the lives of millions around the world in the last century.

For decades, many international treaties and national constitutions have enshrined the fundamental right to health and the right to share in the benefits of scientific advancements. Yet, while the world is witnessing the immense potential of science and technology to advance health care, gaps and failures in addressing disease burdens and emerging diseases in many countries and communities remain. The misalignment between the right to health on the one hand and intellectual property and trade on the other, fuel this tension.

The UN Secretary-General established the High-Level Panel to propose solutions for addressing the incoherencies between international human rights, trade, intellectual property rights and public health objectives.

The Panel has formulated a set of concrete recommendations to help improve research and development of health technologies and people’s access to vital therapies that are currently priced out-of-reach of patients and governments alike. The Panel’s report points out that the cost of health technologies are putting a strain on both rich and poor countries.

The new report noted with grave concern reports of governments being subjected to undue political and economic pressure to forgo the use of TRIPS flexibilities. The Panel felt strongly that this pressure undermines the efforts of governments to meet their human rights and public health obligations and violates the integrity and legitimacy of the Doha Declaration.

The Panel also recommended the UN General Assembly convene a Special Session no later than 2018 on health technology innovation and access to agree on strategies and an accountability framework that will accelerate efforts towards promoting innovation and ensuring access in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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