IAPO Statement on EB148/7 – Expanding access to effective treatments for cancer and rare and orphan diseases, including medicines, vaccines, medical devices, etc...

IAPO welcomes the Director General’s Report EB148/9. This report is timely as all Member States are currently planning on promptly restoring back to normal all their NCD and Rare Diseases health care services that were disrupted by COVID-19 using innovative digital and biotechnologies.

Building back better health systems must recognise that access to innovative safe, effective, quality-assured, and affordable innovative diagnostics, cell and gene-based therapies, vaccines, medicines, and medical devices is a fundamental human right of a patient.

At the 72nd WHA 2019, IAPO launched its Cell and Gene Therapy Advocacy Tool Kit to improve patient awareness and begin advocacy to improve access to cell and gene therapies for patients.

Today, personalised healthcare (PHC), precision medicine and digital health are transforming health systems. Early diagnosis and treatment of cancers through use of genomic science, biotechnology and digital health informatics has ensured that we not only improve the health outcomes, but we also improve patient experience.

Personalised healthcare is the pinnacle of patient centric treatments. PHC promises to be less harsh compared with late diagnosed cancers requiring major surgery and intense chemotherapy. IAPO wants access improved to PHC and early liquid biopsies, circulating tumour cell (CTC) detection, immunotherapy, and digital health care solutions to improve the chances of survival.

IAPO urges that Member States to work in national unity and global solidarity to leverage once again the great humanitarian spirit we developed during the 2003 Human Genome Project (HGP) and whose genomic insight and biotechnology spin-off, like the CRISPR Cas 9 system, have played a big role in the COVID-19 vaccine development. We can use this spirit to develop affordable solutions for low-and middle-income primary health care settings for the management of cancer and other noncommunicable and rare diseases.