(KEI blogs and other work on COVID-19 are here: https://www.keionline.org/coronavirus)
A letter from Costa Rica, signed by Carlos Alarado Quesada, the President, and Dr. Daniel Salas Peraza, the Minister of Health, to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was sent this evening to the World Health Organization (WHO), asking for a global program to “pool rights to technologies that are useful for the detection, prevention, control and treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Costa Rica proposes the pool “should include existing and future rights in patented inventions and designs, as well as rights in regulatory test data, know- how, cell lines, copyrights and blueprints for manufacturing diagnostic tests, devices, drugs, or vaccines. It should provide for free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable terms, in every member country.”
This is a very important proposal, and WHO member states and those concerned about the pandemic should show strong support. The implementation will require substantial work, but this is exactly the right way to frame the issue and the necessary first step.
The letter follows.
San José, 23 de marzo de 2020
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
World Health Organization
Dear Dr. Tedros,
Costa Rica in the spirit of contributing to global actions to fight the pandemic, respectfully requests to the World Health Organization (WHO) to undertake an effort to pool rights to technologies that are useful for the detection, prevention, control and treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This pool, which will involve voluntary assignments, should include existing and future rights in patented inventions and designs, as well rights in regulatory test data, know- how, cell lines, copyrights and blueprints for manufacturing diagnostic tests, devices, drugs, or vaccines. It should provide for free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable terms, in every member country.
Given the urgency of this matter, Costa Rica proposes that the WHO develop an initial concise memorandum of understanding on the intent to share rights in technologies funded by the public sector and other relevant actors, and reach out to WHO Member States, non-profit institutions, industry and others, to sign such an MoU. The specific technologies and the terms of the assignments can be determined later, in the implementation stage of the pool, in consultation with R&D funders and rights holders.
We also ask that the Global Observatory on Health R&D create a database of R&D activity related to COVID-19, including estimates of the costs of clinical trials, and the subsidies provided by governments and charities.
CARLOS ALVARADO QUESADA, Presidente de la República
DANIEL SALAS PERAZA, Ministro de Salud
Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization
Dr. Bernhard Schwartländer, Chef de Cabinet, World Health Organization
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization
Dr Mariângela Batista Galvão Simão, Assistant Director-General, Access to Medicines and Health Products
Derek Walton, Legal Counsel, World Health Organization
Steven Solomon, Principal Legal Officer, World Health Organization
Dra. Carisse F. Etienne, Director, Panamerican Health Organization / WHO