US airs reservations over proposed health research fund

A jar of dollar bills. The United States does not support the call for a binding fund for global health research. Photo by: Tax Credits / CC BY-SA

The United States has shot down a proposal to create a new binding fund to support global health research and development, despite recognizing the need for greater financing to support such activities.

The United States does not support the call for a binding funding mechanism that would require World Health Organization member states to commit 0.01 percent of the gross national income to health-related research and development, Nils Daulaire said at the recently concluded 65th World Health Assembly in Switzerland. Daulaire is the director of the Office of Global Health Affairs of the U.S. health and human services department.

Daulaire added that a “large number” of WHO member states are not prepared to pay the obligatory contribution. He also expressed U.S. opposition to a proposal to establish a single pooled funding mechanism for research and development.

Instead, the U.S. official proposed to identify incentives for better coordination and capacity building of research and development activities in developing countries.

The United States’ opposition to the proposals, which were recommended by a WHO expert working group, has prompted health groups and advocates to voice their concerns.

“We are especially surprised to see the U.S. taking such a hardline position, since they already meet the level of financial contributions to medical R&D suggested in the expert report,” said Michelle Childs of Médecins Sans Frontières’ Access Campaign, as quoted by the Huffington Post.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.