Statement on a new international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
OXFAM AND THE PEOPLE’S VACCINE ALLIANCE STATEMENT ON A NEW INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENT ON PANDEMIC PREVENTION, PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE
Sent: 13 September 2022
72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe
Tel Aviv, Israel, 12-14 September 2022
The pandemic treaty currently being negotiated is an opportunity to generate political commitments from countries to prioritise global health and solidarity over commercial gains and nationalism.
To avoid a repeat of the deadly inequalities experienced during this pandemic, the treaty should ensure that governments’ investments in health technologies yield a fair return to the public and that health objectives globally are not jeopardised by commercial interests.
To this end, the treaty should mandate governments to attach conditions to public funding for research and development and purchasing that require:
- fair allocation of medical countermeasures globally according to public health criteria designed by WHO,
affordable pricing with full transparency on R&D costs,
- technology transfer including to developing countries,
- finally, sharing intellectual property rights through the Medicine Patent Pool or WHO-led mechanisms like the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).
Speaking of intellectual property, governments should ensure that their national law includes TRIPS flexibilities and that bilateral and plurilateral agreements are not a barrier to accessing lifesaving technologies and products. Governments should be mandated not to enforce provisions in those agreements when they conflict with obligations under this treaty.
While the TRIPS agreement guarantees some public health safeguards, the imbalance of power in global trade and in IP rights’ ownership makes it difficult for developing countries to apply them in practice. Governments must commit to not in any way obstruct or seek to dissuade other countries from making full use of existing TRIPS flexibilities.
These commitments will allow for a better system for the global governance of medical countermeasures and overall effective pandemic preparedness and response in the future.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact: [email protected]