A cross-party group of 33 MEPs has written to the European Commission expressing concern at how EU-funded medical tools and technologies for COVID-19 (diagnostics, vaccines and treatments) will be made available, accessible and affordable for patients in Europe and beyond.
In a letter coordinated by HAI and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Access Campaign, MEPs urge the Commission and the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) to do the following to ensure this happens:
- Take necessary actions to ensure that patents and monopolies will not restrict production, and provide medical tools needed to combat the pandemic. Exclusive licences to any private manufacturer for a coronavirus diagnostic tool, vaccine or treatment in any grants, contracts, or licensing arrangements must not be provided. Other forms of worldwide non-exclusive licensing of resulting health technologies should be included as a precondition for receiving EU funding.
- Leverage its investment to demand transparency in the research and development (R&D) pipeline by providing full public oversight and accountability over public and private investment in the R&D of end-products, in order to guarantee that contractual access and affordability commitments and conditions are met.
- Take steps towards the creation of global governance mechanisms to ensure an allocation and supply of medical tools to assist in the control of the outbreak according to need. We cannot allow overstocking in one country or region of the world to lead to shortages elsewhere. This is particularly pertinent for low resource setting countries.