This pack has been prepared ahead of the debate to be held in the Commons Chamber on Thursday 20 April on Research and Development on Tackling Infectious Diseases. The topic for the debate has been selected by the Backbench Business Committee.Jump to full report >>
This debate pack is prepared for a general debate on research and development on tackling infectious diseases. The debate will be led by Virendra Sharma, Jeremy Lefroy and Stephen Doughty.
In his application to the Backbench Business Committee, Mr Sharma said that the debate would give Members an opportunity to talk about a wide range of issues relating to infectious diseases. These included, ensuring access to new and existing medicines, investing in research and development of new medicines, diagnostics and vaccines, and the Government approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance.
The UK Government invests in the research and development to tackle infectious diseases in a number of ways. These include:
The United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines
In November 2015, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon appointed a High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines. The panel were tasked with assessing the evidence on access to medicines globally and provide recommendations to promote the development and production of health technologies in a way that balances trade, human rights and public health.
The panel’s final report was published on 14 September 2016. It stated that new approaches were required to ensure access to medicines and encourage innovation to improve health worldwide and reduce inequality. Numerous recommendations were made to governments, multilateral organisations, and private sector companies.
In response to a Parliamentary question in December 2016, James Wharton, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, stated that DFID supported the aims of the panel’s recommendations but noted a lack of consensus from the panel, and that the World Health Organisation had developed a strategy in this area:
DFID supports the aims of the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines, but we note that this panel of experts could not reach consensus. The World Health Organisation has analysed the barriers that limit access to medicines, and developed a Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. It is, therefore, well-placed to consider, with partners, which of the Panel’s recommendations add value.
The development of the World Health Organisation (WHO) global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property followed a resolution at the World Health Assembly in 2008. Through the strategy the WHO plays a role in improving access to medicines, driving innovation and encouraging research into diseases which disproportionately affect those in developing countries.
The WHO has also developed the R&D Blueprint, a global strategy to allow the rapid activation of research and development to respond to epidemics.
 UK Aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest, HM Treasury/DFID, November 2015.
Commons Debate packs CDP-2017-0118
Authors: Nikki Sutherland; Sarah Barber