Union Health Minister inaugurates ‘1st World Conference on Access to Medical Products and International Laws for Trade and Health’

Inaugurating the First World Conference on "Access to Medical Products and International Laws for Trade and Health in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" at New Delhi on 21 November 2017, Mr. J.P.Nadda, Union Health & Family Welfare Minister highlighted the importance of transparency between regulatory authorities and pharma sector.

Mr Nadda stated that the coordination between the National Regulatory Authorities and pharmaceutical sector will enable the launch and registration of new health technologies. “The dialogue on role of competition in competitive pricing and discussion on related WTO agreements influencing health should lead to a larger umbrella of suggested policy options for the government,” he said.

The three-day conference, from 21-23 November 2017, was organized by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare with the support of WHO Country Office for India and in partnership with Indian Society of International Law.

Among those present at the inauguration were Ms Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health & Family Planning, Dr V.K.Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, Ms Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary, Department of Health Research & Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research; Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General Health Services; Dr R.K. Vats, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; Dr E.M.S Natchiappan, President, Indian Society of International Law, and Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India.

Mr Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health & Family Planning joined the conference via video link.

The aim of the Conference was exchange of knowledge and expanding understanding on contemporary issues in international trade laws and research and innovation for access to medical products to achieve SDG 2030 agenda.

In his address, Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India said, “India, considered the pharmacy of the world, is now moving from generic drugs and vaccines to manufacturing medical products and diagnostics. Access to medicines and medical products is key to universal health coverage.”

Appreciating India for its success in making Hepatitis-C drugs available at an affordable price, Dr Bekedam said that the country was also introducing re-use prevention syringes, preventing the spread of possible blood-borne diseases and WHO was supporting it.

Specific subjects for discussion at the Conference include access to medical products, innovation and research and development to achieve SDGs, and intellectual property rights and trade for SDGs. Experts from these fields are expected to come up with specific recommendations leading to possible policy interventions by the governments and other stakeholders.

Indian and international civil society groups have been invited for the Conference to include their voices and provide greater inclusivity to the proceedings.

The Union Health Minister announced that the second World Conference on ``Access to Medical Products and International Laws for Trade and Health in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’’ would be held in India in October 2018.

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