[Ip-health] The European Parliament calls on the European Commission and the Member States to formally support the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP)

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Jul 13 10:09:30 PDT 2020

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission and the Member
States to formally support the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP)
Posted on July 13, 2020 <https://www.keionline.org/33514> by Thiru

On Friday, 10 July 2020, the European Parliament adopted a resolution
entitled, *The EU’s public health strategy post-COVID-19*
<https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0205_EN.html>, by
526 votes to 105 and 50 abstentions. This resolution paves the way for the
creation of a European Health Union and the establishment of a European
Health Response Mechanism; the resolution contains strong language in
support of WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), de-linkage
mechanisms, transparency, and compulsory licensing.

Operative paragraph 6 of the resolution calls on the European Commission
and EU member states to “formally support the COVID-19 Technology Access
Pool (C-TAP), allowing maximum sharing of COVID-19 health
technology-related knowledge, intellectual property and data to the benefit
of all countries and citizens”. The European Parliament’s unequivocal
support for WHO’s Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) provides a strong mandate
for the European Union’s engagement and support for the pool.

In relation to ensuring public return on public investment, operative
paragraph 7 of the resolution calls on the European Commission and EU
member states to “incorporate collective safeguards in favour of the public
regarding public funding, such as transparency, accessibility and
affordability clauses and non-exclusive licences for the exploitation of
the final products, in all current and future calls for funding and

The resolution envisages the use of compulsory licensing in the event that
third countries (non-EU member states) do not share COVID-19 vaccines,
therapeutics and know-how:

8. Calls for dialogue and cooperation with third countries; urges Member
States to issue compulsory licences, in the event that third countries do
not share the vaccine and/or therapy or the respective knowledge;

In an effort to avert EU member states pursuing a beggar thy neighbor
approach to procuring vaccines and treatments, the resolution states:

17. Calls for EU joint procurement to be used for the purchase of COVID-19
vaccines and treatments, and for it to be used more systematically to avoid
Member States competing against each other and to ensure equal and
affordable access to important medicines and medical devices, in particular
for new innovative antibiotics, new vaccines and curative medicines, and
medicines for rare diseases;

In relation to the transparency of prices, R&D costs, and clinical trial
results, the resolution proposes the following:

   20. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to present a new
   proposal to revise Directive 89/105/EEC on the transparency of prices,
   ensuring transparency of the R&D costs and putting Member States on an
   equal footing when negotiating with manufacturers for treatments that are
   not jointly procured;

   21. Insists on the swift implementation of the heavily delayed Clinical
   Trials Regulation to ensure transparency of clinical trial results,
   regardless of the outcome, and facilitate larger, cross-border clinical
   trials; underlines that negative or inconclusive outcomes from clinical
   trials represent important knowledge that can help improve future research;

On intellectual property, the resolution proposed the following:

23. Encourages all countries to join the WTO’s Pharmaceutical Tariff
Elimination Agreement and urges that the scope be extended to all
pharmaceutical and medicinal products and supports that the EU must
maintain a robust European intellectual property (IP) system to encourage
R&D and manufacturing in Europe, to ensure that Europe remains an innovator
and a world leader;

In relation to exploring “credible and effective alternatives” to
monopoly-based protection for the financing of medical R&D, the resolution
calls on the Commission to examine delinkage mechanisms.

44. Calls on the Commission to assess the impact of intellectual property
incentives on biomedical innovation in general and to explore credible and
effective alternatives to exclusive protections for the financing of
medical R&D, such as the numerous tools based on delinkage mechanisms;

Jaume Vidal, Senior Policy Advisor, European Projects from Health Action
International (HAI) provided the following insights.

*“The approval of the 10 July 2020 European Parliament resolution, on the
EU’s public health strategy post-COVID-19, by a wide margin in the plenary
of the European Parliament is highly relevant not only for the wide margins
of support but also because it puts pressure onto the European Commission
(and Member States) to effectively support the WHO C-TAP initiative while
leaving explicitly open the possibility of taking legislative action on
easing the use of compulsory license in the EU and stating explicitly that
access to COVID-19 vaccines or therapeutic response will not be a EU-first
or US-only affair but a global, universal one.”*

Viviana Galli, Coordinator, European Alliance for Responsible R&D and
Affordable Medicines provided these comments on the passage of the

*“A cross-party resolution calling for global equitable and affordable
access, the inclusion of pro-public safeguards attached to public funds,
more transparency and a review of the impact of IP incentives is a strong
signal to the European Commission and Member States to prioritize public
health across policies. The next fundamental step is to translate the
guiding principles outlined in the resolution into policy action.”*

The text of the resolution can be found here:

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

More information about the Ip-health mailing list