MSF is sending one ton of medical supplies to support the Hong Kong St John Ambulance service. The staff are transporting high risk patients, so it’s crucial that they have the specialised protection they need to work safely. Photograph by Marta García Arjona
Technical brief |

MSF Access Campaign position paper on the sharing of technologies for COVID-19 to ensure equitable access for all

Photograph by Marta García Arjona

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to reaffirm the core responsibility of governments and the World Health Organization to adopt mandatory measures to ensure an uninterrupted access to and a worldwide right to use and produce effective therapeutics, diagnostics, vaccines and other medical tools needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes, but is not limited to, adopting binding agreements at the international level, the use of compulsory licensing, the suspension and cancellation of exclusivity protections, and open licensing agreements with worldwide coverage. These measures would accelerate the development of a diverse and sufficient manufacturing and supply capacity, and would enable the equitable distribution of COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines for all in need.

The paper summarises the key lessons learned from MSF’s experience with voluntary licenses of pharmaceutical patents and proposes key considerations to be adopted in the context of sharing the medical technologies needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.