Geneva — World Health Organisation (WHO) members agreed on Tuesday to push for clearer drug pricing but stepped back from proposals by activists to force pharmaceutical firms to disclose the cost of making medicines. Activists say drug companies can charge high prices for some medicines and governments spend too much, because they negotiate without knowing how much each drug actually costs to make. Drug companies argue that cost information is a commercial secret. They say new drugs should be priced according to the benefits they bring to patients, regardless of production and development costs, to ensure companies have a commercial incentive to tackle disease. An earlier draft of the text would have given the WHO explicit powers to collect and analyse data on procurement prices and costs from clinical trials — but that wording was omitted from a draft published on Tuesday. A WHO committee adopted the draft by consensus after a long negotiation, just in time for it to be considered ...

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