Round of medical staff in the Covid-19 patients ward, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Photo credit: MSF/Vanessa Fodjo
Statement |

Pandemic Accord: MSF statement at INB8 plenary session

Photo credit: MSF/Vanessa Fodjo
Round of medical staff in the Covid-19 patients ward, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Photo credit: MSF/Vanessa Fodjo

MSF statement at the 8th meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) for a World Health Organization (WHO) instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

MSF urges the member states to agree on a comprehensive package in the pandemic agreement of commitments that prioritise the needs of people in humanitarian and resource-limited settings. 

Ensuring the protection of medical facilities, personnel and patients remains an absolute prerequisite for any medical intervention. The unique challenges faced by people affected by armed conflicts, natural disasters and other humanitarian crises must be recognised and addressed throughout the accord including by explicitly including them as part of the definition of “vulnerable populations”. Clear rules are also needed to ensure supply for international stockpiling of medical products and in order to prevent national stockpiling efforts from competing against global access needs. Humanitarian and public health needs should be put at the centre of priority setting and decision making for stockpiling and allocation efforts. 

Governments should agree on rules linking public funding of medical products to conditions to ensure access to these products, and on rules incorporating international medical ethics guidelines to ensure post-clinical trial access to the end products, especially by communities in developing countries. On intellectual property rights, the accord should specify governments’ responsibility to incorporate and use all possible legal flexibilities for the broadest possible access to medical products. Attempts to introduce more stringent intellectual property rights in trade negotiations must be revoked. 

While the draft accord recognises transparency as a key principle, it should go further and introduce obligations for governments to increase access to information and prohibit the use of confidentiality clauses, especially in procurement agreements when access to medical products is at stake. 

The accord should have an international access and benefit-sharing mechanism; this should include dedicating a portion of global production and supply to global stockpiling and equitable allocation mechanisms, and transfer of technology and know-how to manufacturers, particularly in resource-limited countries and regions. 

We welcome the publication of the new INB draft text and will continue sharing our comments accordingly.