Nursing staff at the Ngwelezana Tertiary Hospital in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in 2021. Photo credit: MSF/Chris Allan
Technical brief |

MSF’s Comments on Selected Provisions of the Proposal for the WHO Pandemic Agreement

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Photo credit: MSF/Chris Allan

On 22 April 2024, a “Proposal for the WHO Pandemic Agreement” was published by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB). The proposal is being negotiated at the “Resumed” 9th meeting of the INB (29 April – 10 May 2024).  

The new draft presents some improvements over previous versions that should be preserved and strengthened in the final text. These include provisions on protecting health needs in humanitarian settings, respecting the use of flexibilities in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS flexibilities), public research and development (R&D) funding agreements, transparency and national stockpiling.

However, a number of provisions that are key to an effective agreement have been diluted, deleted, or are still missing from the draft. These include provisions on transfer of technology, post clinical-trial access by communities that support R&D, incorporation of public health flexibilities into national laws, and international stockpiling and equitable allocation.  

As the negotiations enter the last stage, governments must do all they can to deliver a meaningful and effective agreement that can ensure equitable access to lifesaving medical products. To this end, in this briefing document we examine selected provisions of the new draft of the Pandemic Agreement, paying close attention to their evolution from previous drafts and analysing their implications for equitable access.