A treaty on pandemic preparedness and response is an opportunity to create a framework that addresses a multitude of issues, including but not limited to these four topics.
1. The treaty should create norms and mechanisms for governments to share the costs and benefits of research and development for pandemic countermeasures, such as diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
2. The norms on R&D funding should include obligations to ensure that the publicly funded science and technologies are shared, as global public goods when possible, and at a minimum, among countries that agree to pool rights in inventions, data, manufacturing know-how and biologic resources (sometimes referred to as a type of share and share-alike approach). The measures should also address constructive, timely and effective technology transfer obligations to scale manufacturing and avoid hoarding of manufacturing know-how.
3. Governments should agree to collectively use exceptions to intellectual property rights that are permitted in existing trade agreements and treaties. A model for this is the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty for the Blind, which mandates its members to use exceptions in copyrights to enhance global access to works made accessible to persons who are blind or have other disabilities.
4. There should be a robust chapter on transparency, addressing at a minimum the topics enumerated in WHA72.8, as well as other pandemic response specific issues. The lack of transparency in many areas for the current pandemic is an appalling and unnecessary policy failure, and one that both makes it more difficult to manage a pandemic response, and undermines the public’s trust in institutions.