On April 6, 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, gave a media briefing on COVID-19 and the WHO’s efforts to combat the pandemic. In his remarks, Dr. Tedros specifically highlighted the proposal by the government of Costa Rica to create a global pooling mechanism for rights to technologies related to COVID-19, heralded the announcement of the Medicines Patent Pool and UNITAID to expand their licensing pool to COVID-19-related technologies, and called for countries, companies and research institutes to “support open data, open science and open collaboration”:
- WHO is committed to ensuring that as medicines and vaccines are developed, they are shared equitably with all countries and people.
- I want to thank the Medicines Patent Pool and UNITAID for the initiative they announced last Friday to include medicines and diagnostics for COVID-19 in their licensing pool.
- I also want to thank the President of Costa Rica, President Carlos Alvarado, and the Health Minister, Daniel Salas, for their proposal to create a pool of rights to tests, medicines and vaccines, with free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable terms for all countries. Muchas gracias, Mr President.
- I support this proposal, and we are working with Costa Rica to finalize the details.
- Poorer countries and fragile economies stand to face the biggest shock from this pandemic, and leaving anyone unprotected will only prolong the health crisis and harm economies more.
- I call on all countries, companies and research institutions to support open data, open science and open collaboration so that all people can enjoy the benefits of science and research.