To deal with the global coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization and 37 countries have called for shared ownership of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic necessities.
WHO and 37 countries are challenging patent laws that they fear might become a barrier sharing supply, according to the international news agency.
Although pressure from mostly developing countries, called the Covid-19 Access Pool technology, gained support from Doctors Without Borders and other groups, an alliance with the drug industry posed a problem if the attempt to pool intellectual property would require more access to medicines.
Small and developing countries believe that the rich countries have used money to find vaccines, and that they will be motivated to stand at the front of the line until someone succeeds.
Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado said, “Vaccines, tests, diagnostics, treatments, and other key tools in the coronavirus response must be made universally available as global public goods,”
The WHO released a “Solidarity Call to Action,” as it asked stakeholders to support the voluntary drive.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online news briefing, “WHO recognizes the important role that patents play in fuelling innovation but this is a time when people must take priority.”
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations talked about impacts on intellectual property. The federation said,
“The ‘Solidarity Call to Action’ promotes a one-size-fits-all model that disregards the specific circumstances of each situation, each product, and each country.”
Anna Marriott, health policy manager for anti-poverty group Oxfam, said, “The pharmaceutical industry’s attempt to rubbish the World Health Organisation’s initiative suggests they care more for profits than people’s health”.