United Kingdom refuses to sign the international agreement on the reduction of drug costs

The United Kingdom is being accused of behaving in bad faith once it backed away from the international agreement that aimed to reduce drug costs throughout the world.

This month, World Health Assembly that is the decision making body of WHO, and the member states took three weeks to negotiate the terms of the agreement that aimed to increase the transparency of drug pricing with Germany, Japan, Switzerland, the UK, and the U.S., all demanding changes in the text.

However, once the signing of the final agreement took place on Monday, Germany, Hungary and United Kingdom, formally decided to dissociate themselves from the agreement as according to them, they wanted more time for considering its applications.

Julian Braithwaite, the ambassador of the United Kingdom to the UN in Geneva said to the WHA, in a statement that their government was dedicated to improving the access to medicines.

However, he also added that the decision of bringing this resolution to the WHA without firstly giving the member states an opportunity of reviewing and having an input, and also the mannerism in which the negotiations were carried out in the room, do not at all reflect the spirit of consensus or collaborative working that one expects from this forum.

The resolution urged its member states for sharing information about the prices that they are paying for medicines and the devices in order to lower the costs of drug and also ensure the publication of all clinical trial.

Furthermore, the resolution requested the WHO to monitor the effect of transparency on the availability and affordability of health products.

An earlier draft of the resolution demanded the data on research and development costs to be transparent, reliable, and also sufficiently detailed. It should also be inclusive of any subsidies that are received or any public finding as well. However, this was not a part of the final text.

Katy Athersuch has said that in order to understand the true price of a drug, it is essential that you know how much it costs to manufacture the drug or product, and whether the companies doing so had received any public funding or not. She said that pharmaceutical companies often tend to use the expensiveness of R&D to justify the high costs of drugs.