Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) is an accredited non-state actor at the World Health Organization (WHO). This is our statement at the WHO Executive Board Special Session on the COVID-19 response.
Knowledge Ecology International
Meeting: EB Special session on the COVID-19 response
Agenda Item: 3. Update on implementation of resolution WHA73.1 (2020) on the COVID-19 response
KEI written statement on agenda item 3 of the WHO Executive Board special session: Update on implementation of resolution WHA73.1 (2020) on the COVID-19 response
5 October 2020
Lofty rhetoric on global public goods and solidarity in the COVID-19 response has not been matched by concrete action on the sharing of know-how and intellectual property rights to facilitate deep technology transfer.
The WHO secretariat should request in writing that the funders of COVID-19 R&D including in particular governments and philanthropies include language in contracts and use their financial leverage to enable sharing of know-how, cell lines and rights in data and patents, for COVID-19 related technologies.
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 WHO R&D Observatory must maintain 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.
We support the submission by India and South Africa to the WTO TRIPS Council for a waiver of TRIPS obligations during the pandemic.