Last month, the Italian government asked the World Health Assembly to adopt a resolution to require drug makers to disclose their R&D and production costs, as well as prices charged for medicines and vaccines. Italian health minister Giulia Grillo wrote to the World Health Organization that “international action is required to improve transparency” in order to widen access to pharmaceuticals. If the resolution is enacted, the WHO would have a mandate to collect and analyze data on clinical trial outcomes, assess patents, and provide a forum for countries to share information on prices, R&D and marketing costs, R&D subsidies, and public sector investments. In effect, the proposal would set an international standard, but is likely to get pushback from the pharmaceutical industry. We spoke with Grillo, who publicly announced the move on Tuesday, about the effort. Her comments are from both an email exchange and a phone conversation. This interview has been lightly edited.
Pharmalot: Why did you propose this resolution?