We call for no patents or profiteering on drugs, tests, or vaccines used for the COVID-19 pandemic.
MSF seeks to ensure that the medical tools urgently needed to respond to COVID-19 are accessible, affordable, and available to all countries equally.
All concerned stakeholders—including governments, pharmaceutical corporations, philanthropic organisations and research organisations developing treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines—should take the necessary measures to:
- Ensure the rapid and ample production of medical tools, once approved, and allocate supply based on equity and need.
- Prevent patents and monopolies from limiting production and affordable access.
- Prioritise the availability of the medical tools for protection and treatment of frontline healthcare workers.
- Improve transparency and coordination among governments and other buyers to monitor and mitigate supply chain risks.
We ask governments to prepare to suspend and override patents and take other measures, such as price controls, to ensure availability, reduce prices and save more lives.
We are also supporting MSF’s operational needs and priorities as we open new projects in response to COVID-19 and adapt existing ones to help cope if cases are identified. We are very concerned on how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect people in countries with already fragile health systems. Find out how we are responding to the pandemic around the world.
Overview: Access challenges to COVID-19 therapeutic candidates
This briefing document aims to provide an up-to-date snapshot analysis of the key access and supply challenges for selected promising candidate medicines.
What you can do to help
Support our recent activities by sharing on social media:
🌍 We made a public appeal calling for no patents or profiteering on COVID-19 medical tools, and urged governments to override patents to ensure availability, reduce prices, and save more lives
🌍 We asked governments to ensure that any future COVID-19 vaccines must be sold at cost and accessible to all
🌍🇪🇺 4th May - EU Commission Pledging Conference we are raising important questions about how the commitments made will be used and about the terms and conditions attached.
🇬🇧 We sent a letter asking the UK government to prevent Big Pharma profiteering from COVID-19.
🇺🇸 We sent and co-signed letters to Gilead Sciences expressing concerns about the corporation’s unacceptable approach to remdesivir, a potential COVID-19 drug.
🇪🇺 We sent and co-authored letters to the European Commission demanding EU research funding only be granted on condition that the final products are made affordable and accessible to everyone in need
🇺🇸 We joined UAEM's petition to US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar asking that any vaccines and diagnostic tools for COVID19 developed with public funding in America will be made available to All
MSF Access brings down barriers that keep people from getting the treatment they need to stay alive and healthy. We advocate for effective drugs, tests and vaccines, that are affordable, available, suited to the people we care for and adapted to the places where they live
We know too well from our work around the world what it means to not be able to treat people in our care because a needed drug is just too expensive or simply not available
Read, watch, shareCovid-19: An overview > Paragraphs
No patents or profiteering on drugs, tests, and vaccines in pandemic
Rationing because of high prices and insufficient supply will prolong pandemic
In 2019, MSF marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Access Campaign, which has been working to secure access to affordable medicines, diagnostics and vaccines, including promoting their research and development, for people in MSF’s care and beyond. This milestone provides an opportunity to reflect on what has been learned and accomplished – and what needs to be done going forward – in medical innovation and in ensuring access for all people in need.
Din Savorn, former Hepatitis C patient, Cambodia, July 2019
We were always desperately seeking a cure everywhere. Some people were bragging to me about getting (the new) treatment in Singapore for $10,000 or Vietnam for $8,000. If I wanted to have treatment, I would need to sell my house. So I decided to wait and if I died, well at least my kids would be left with the house.I am very grateful now to have this cure from MSF. It gives hope to my children and the chance to see their father’s face when they are grown up. #AccessLive
Goodman Mkhanda, XDR-TB survivor and activist, South Africa, July 2019
They always give us statistics how TB is killing millions, millions, of people in one year. So we say to the pharmacists, the technicians, the researchers, the scientists: Do something fast to prevent these people dying because without people, it's no country. Without people there's no scientists, without people it's no researchers. What will they research for if we are already gone? #AccessLives
Jenny Hughes, former MSF doctor, South Africa, July 2019
I took Phumeza (Tisile) out for the day, and brought her to Lion's Head. But she was really struggling. So we got a third of the way up this mountain and I said, "Phumeza I think we should turn around." And she said "I'll tell you what. If there is one thing I'm gonna do, it's that I'm going to get to the top of this mountain. This is like XDR-TB, I'm gonna conquer this if it's the last thing." #AccessLives
Bernard Pecoul, Doctor , MSF Access Campaign's first Executive Director, July 2019
The atmosphere in the hospital where we were treating sleeping sickness was very tense because 1 in 20 of the patients who came to us died simply from the toxicity of the treatment. That's been my fight ever since, for more than 35 years, to try to bring something better for those patients. #AccessLives
Leena Menghaney, Lawyer, MSF Access Campaign, India
We did everything we could, we shamed the company (Novartis pharmaceutical company), we went to shareholder meetings, we marched against them, we delivered petitions. I remember being so big and pregnant and it being so hot and we were all marching towards the court, and we were so determined. The only thing that we had were our voices. #AccessLives
Phumeza Tisile, XDR-TB survivor and activist, South Africa
The amount of times I was told I was going to die, was like 3 times. And the numbers of pills swallowed was like 20,000-30,000 pills. If you get drug resistant TB, you get old drugs that make you deaf, blind or disabled for life. I didn’t understand what was that all about, why are the scientists not making the drugs. It didn’t make sense to me. #AccessLives
Phumeza Tisile, XDR-TB survivor and activist, South Africa
When I got cured, this was the moment that I wanted to get involved, to get everyone a fair chance at life, get everyone access to medicine that is life-saving. I took it upon me to help other people who didn’t have the stage I was given. #AccessLives
Daniel Berman, former Deputy Director, MSF Access Campaign
I had volunteered in New York with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis buddy network when I lived there, at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic when there was no HIV treatment. They assigned you to one person and everyone died at that time. I remember in terms of experience - even though the people were in New York, in a nice hospital and had their own room - at the end of the day, it doesn't really make much of a difference, because you're so sick. Whether you're on a cot in the slum in Nairobi or you were in the hospital in Manhattan, the experience was weirdly similar. #AccessLives
Dr Tido von Schoen Angerer, Former Executive Director Access Campaign
It was the Novartis 'Drop the Case' Campaign and we had a meeting in a small house by Lake Geneva between CEO Daniel Vasela and Mary Robinson and Ruth Dreyfuss – two grand ladies, both former heads of state, who treated him like a naughty boy. He was put on the spot but he stuck to his guns. Novartis lost the case, we won. #AccessLives
Eric Goemaere, Doctor, MSF South Africa
I brought the Boeringher Ingelheim pharmaceutical CEO into my consulting room where I was examining a 9 year-old boy dying of HIV. He had offered courageously to visit our clinic. During the consultation, he fell silent. At the end he asked if he could pay personally for the boy’s treatment. I said of course - but we're asking you to provide us access to the medicines so we can treat the thousands of boys who need treatment. #AccessLives
20th Anniversary Magazine
3 Questions With..
MSF’s Access Campaign marks 20 years of work to secure access to affordable medicines, diagnostics and vaccines, and to stimulate medical innovation that answers public health needs
Take action now!
Urge Indian Prime Minister Modi to protect India’s production of lifesaving affordable generic medicines. 👇
MSF to @PMOIndia: Protect the pharmacy of the developing world! http://ow.ly/NU10k #HandsOffOurMeds
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) relies heavily on generic medicines made in India to carry out its medical work in more than 60 countries. But the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’ is under attack from the US, the EU, Japan and others who are protecting multinational pharmaceutical profits over peoples’ lives.