A letter was sent to Executive Director of the Global Fund, Mark Dybul and others urging the Global Fund to abandon their "Blue Ribbon Taskforce to Develop a Global Framework on Tiered-Pricing". The letter was signed by 220 civil society organisations across the world who warns that a global multi-tiered pricing framework for middle-income countries (MICs), will permanently undermine access to more affordable medicines, vaccines and diagnostics for low- and middle-income countries. Such a development would be extremely detrimental to key populations in MICs. It would compound the negative effect on funding resulting from new grant allocations based on the New Funding Model. Many middle-income countries face both a funding and affordability crisis due to graduation from low- to middle-income status and to the full implementation of the WTO TRIPS Agreement – the impacts of which are being felt through ever-higher prices for medicines, vaccines and other medical technologies.
The letter also criticises the use of World Bank economic classifications of countries as having "little relation to public health needs of countries’ populations and their capacity to pay unilaterally imposed prices. In fact, most of today’s poor live in countries considered to be middle-income economies. However, the proposed “blue-ribbon Task Force” – rather than identifying solutions that overcome the limitations of current approaches – is seeking primarily to validate and institutionalize a single failed strategy."
Civil Society Organisations urge the Global Fund to:
a) Abandon the blue-ribbon Task Force and tiered pricing initiative in light of the evidence of the ineffectiveness of tiered pricing and the broad concerns voiced by public health experts, civil society, and increasingly, governments.
b) Join ongoing government-driven efforts at the global, national and regional level, including the implementation of the WHO Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. Instead of creating parallel processes, the Global Fund should use its resources – institutional, political and technical – to play a positive role to improve affordability of medical tools. For example, the Global Fund should lend its full weight to assist all developing countries, including those countries that no longer receive financial support from
Global Fund, to improve affordability of medicines, including through the use of TRIPS flexibilities and other measures that promote robust generic competition.
c) Raise the challenges of access to medicines and other medical technologies for low and middle-income countries at the upcoming May 2014 World Health Assembly, by sharing pricing information from Global Fund recipients and the difficulties the Global Fund faces in bringing the cost of medicines down and supporting civil society’s demand to further expand access to treatment through all proven interventions for all in need.