Submitted on 13 April 2022

The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) welcomes the inclusion of equity as a strategic pillar in the considerations of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. A new international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response should include provisions around access, including mechanisms for the voluntary licensing of intellectual property and the transfer of technology and know-how for the establishment of sustainable manufacturing capabilities to ensure that low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have timely and equitable access to vaccines and therapeutics.

Public health-driven, voluntary, non-exclusive, and transparent licensing of intellectual property through partnerships with originator pharmaceutical companies and generic manufacturers has been demonstrated as an effective mechanism for facilitating access in LMICs and promoting innovation. This mechanism has been successfully applied to COVID-19 with the licensing of patented therapeutics to multiple generic manufacturers. Similarly, the mRNA technology transfer hub programme that currently includes 14 LMICs with biomanufacturing capacity, was developed in response to the stark inequities in access to COVID-19 vaccines.

MPP recommends the strengthening of these mechanisms for pandemic preparedness and response. The existing network of generic manufacturers of licensed products and the technology transfer hub programmes are platforms that could be leveraged for future pandemics. To enable these mechanisms to work effectively, MPP calls for the inclusion of relevant access conditions including voluntary licensing and technology transfer in public/philanthropic funding of research and development for countermeasures needed for pandemic response.