At the World Health Organization’s 74th World Health Assembly, Knowledge Ecology International delivered the following remarks on WHO’s global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation, and intellectual property on Saturday, 29 May 2021. Non-state actors are limited to one minute statements.
COVID-19 has demonstrated the urgency to scale manufacturing for vaccines and other health technologies, and illustrated the links between where manufacturing takes place and where and when vaccines are available.
The 2020 COVID-19 funding contracts involved billions in direct funding and subsidies for R&D and advance purchase agreements that de-risked the development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Governments retained some, often limited, rights in contracts, but a coordinated approach with robust rights would have enabled the scaling of more decentralized production and lower prices.
Unfortunately, the WHO R&D Observatory has not played an important role in the pandemic. We would like to see a database of relevant R&D funding agreements, IP license agreements, technology transfers and outsource manufacturing deals, and trial cost data used to evaluate vaccines.