[Ip-health] Unitaid: Equitable global access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostics is key to tackling COVID-19 pandemic

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri May 15 01:30:30 PDT 2020


14 MAY 2020 |

Equitable global access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostics is key to
tackling COVID-19 pandemic

Geneva – As governments, international organizations, pharmaceutical
industry, academia and others focus their efforts on the COVID-19
coronavirus, it is clear that this global pandemic needs a global response.
It is both a public health need and a moral duty to ensure that this
response is grounded in solidarity to ensure that the vaccines, treatments
and diagnostics being developed are accessible to all, everywhere and at
the same time.

Heads of State and government, and the World Health Organization, have
recognized and actively supported this need.

There is growing international backing for the proposal of the President of
Costa Rica for voluntary pooling of knowledge, intellectual property and
data necessary for COVID-19 detection, prevention, treatment and response.
The pledging marathon co-hosted by the European Union and its partners on 4
May 2020 stressed the need for global development of innovative responses
that are both universally available and affordable.

This political will is being translated into action through the Access to
COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Unitaid is proud to be part of the
partnership driving the work around development, manufacturing, procurement
and deployment of treatments. Core to this work must be to find innovative
solutions that are adapted and accessible to all, especially in
low-resource settings.

Marisol Touraine, Chair of the Unitaid Executive Board and former French
health minister said, “It must be clear from the beginning that any
development of drugs, vaccines or technologies for COVID-19, especially
those that use public funds, should be treated as global public health
goods. We are talking about sharing intellectual property rights,
technology transfers and know-how; respecting them, not giving them up.”
She continued, “Unitaid fully supports the declaration by the French Prime
Minister Édouard Philippe that access for all to any COVID-19 vaccine, as
well as treatments and diagnostics, is not negotiable. We welcome the
statement by the French pharmaceutical group Sanofi to make its COVID-19
vaccine available, when ready, to all countries.”

Innovative mechanisms for pooling of intellectual property exist. Dr
Philippe Duneton, Unitaid Executive Director a.i. said, “the Medicines
Patent Pool was created by Unitaid 10 years ago and has shown it delivers
global public health value while respecting intellectual property owners’
rights. We need a common understanding of all partners, industry and civil
society ensure that there must be equitable global access to these
publicly-funded innovations.”

For information on Unitaid’s response to COVID-19 please see

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

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