"" Photograph by Joffrey Monnier
Letter |

A letter from civil society to the European Commission: Investment in R&D funding for COVID-19 to be conditional on access and affordability for all

Photograph by Joffrey Monnier

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak - the disease caused by the novel coronavirus - a global pandemic. Since January, the European Commission has allocated millions of Euros to promote research on COVID-19, including through the Horizon 2020 programme, the Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) and European Investment Bank (EIB) loans. 

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Access Campaign joins a coalition of over 60 civil society groups in demanding EU research funding only be granted on condition that the final products are made affordable and accessible to everyone in need.

The below letter sets out our demands that the European Commission and EU Member States prioritise public health considerations in any public funding invested for COVID-19 medical research by including the following safeguards in grant and investment agreements:

  • transparency regarding public investments in the development of new tools
  • accessibility and affordability clauses relating to the final products
  • non-exclusive licences for the end-result products to facilitate supply and affordability issues.

Such safeguards should enable a rapid scale-up of production of any new tools to meet the rapidly growing global demand for effective medical tools to fight the epidemic, and ensure that end products remain affordable for everyone that needs them.

Europe is currently at the epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic⁠—in recent years access to affordable medicines has increasingly become a matter of concern in the EU.