WHA73: Written statement of KEI – Agenda item 3 – Address by WHO Director-General devoted to the COVID-19 pandemic response in advance of the opening of the Health Assembly

KEI is an accredited non-state actor at the World Health Organization (WHO). This is our statement at the 73rd World Health Assembly.


Knowledge Ecology International
Meeting: Seventy-third World Health Assembly
Written statements on COVID-19 pandemic

The biggest question today is when will our health and economies be safe from the coronavirus. Related are questions about fairness, and capacity to supply everyone with a vaccine, drug or other technology to diagnose, prevent or treat the virus.

There should be no monopolies on patents, regulatory exclusivities, data or know-how in this pandemic. All relevant technology for COVID-19 products should be available either free or openly licensed with non-discriminatory, reasonable and affordable royalties.

Relevant technologies should become global public goods. Where incentives are needed, they should be delinked from prices and exclusive rights.

Governments, particularly if working together, have massive power to ensure technology to fight COVID-19 are open to all manufacturers, and cheap. Governments control IP rights and are spending billions to fund R&D and buy relevant products. Governments need to cooperate and use their power to benefit the public.

The proposal by Costa Rica, the WHO, and others to create a global pool for rights in inventions, data, biologic resources and know-how useful in the prevention, detection and treatment of COVID-19 is important, needs to be implemented with haste, and with full backing of every country and every donor funding biomedical R&D.

The ACT initiative and institutions like CEPI must openly license all IP and know-how, to scale up global production of relevant products.

The public wants transparency.

The WHO R&D Observatory needs to have a database of all R&D related to the coronavirus, including information on the costs of trials, the funders and the public sector subsidies. All research contracts and all licenses should be public. The WHO needs to create a global database of prices for all relevant COVID 19 drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests.