As countries across the world today come together for an international pledging conference to raise funds for the research and development (R&D), manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, the European Public Health Alliance joins almost 60 civil society organisations to call for measures to increase the accountability and public ownership of this pledging initiative and subsequent activities.
Firstly, we are recommending that the EU and all the other donors and partners to the pledging conference sets up a transparent and inclusive governance structure to decide on priorities, monitor progress, evaluate and report on the results of the pledges and further investments.
We are also calling for a detailed plan to tackle the barriers which can hinder access to life-saving medical tools, such as development and testing to ensure they are safe and effective; a transformation in manufacturing, supply and distribution to meet global demand; and pricing arrangements which ensure the tools are indeed affordable to all.
This plan should comprise a shared definition of what global equitable access, affordability and availability mean and detailed conditions under which partners are expected to contribute to fulfilling these ambitions in return for funding
Funding pledged to support COVID-19 R&D should include coherent legally binding arrangements with private and public partners to ensure that health technologies are priced fairly and affordably to healthcare payers and are free to the public at the point of care in all countries.
Finally, any COVID-19 treatment, diagnostic and vaccine developed with public funding through the 4th May pledges and afterwards should be conditional on mandatory inclusion to a global technology pool, building on the proposal submitted to the World Health Organization by the Costa Rican government, to pool rights to technologies that are useful for the detection, prevention, control and treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic.