MSF's Dr Ilham checking on a patient at a hospital in Mumbai, India. Photo credit: Abhinav Chatterjee/MSF
Statement |

Pandemic Accord: MSF statement on INB Bureau’s text

Photo credit: Abhinav Chatterjee/MSF
MSF's Dr Ilham checking on a patient at a hospital in Mumbai, India. Photo credit: Abhinav Chatterjee/MSF

The following statement was read out at the resumed 5th meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) for a World Health Organization (WHO) convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (WHO CA+), also known as the Pandemic Accord.

While Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) welcomes the Bureau’s new text, we wish to reiterate the importance of ensuring:  

  1. unrestricted access for humanitarian and medical assistance; and 
  2. inclusion of binding norms on equitable and affordable access to medical products. 

We welcome the inclusion of provisions from World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution 72.8 in the revised Article 3.5 on the principle of transparency. However, the scope of the principle should be broadened to include research and development (R&D) costs, terms and conditions of intellectual property (IP) licensing, technology transfer agreements, public funding and procurement agreements, and status of patents and other IP. 

The zero draft’s binding obligations on access conditions to R&D funding agreements in Article 9 are significantly diluted in the Bureau’s text. These obligations should be strengthened to ensure affordable prices, transfer of technology and non-exclusive IP licensing. Technology transfer should also be retained and strengthened as a central benefit-sharing option under Article 12.  

We welcome the provisions on adopting time-bound IP waivers, making full use of IP flexibilities, and preserving TRIPS flexibilities in trade and investment negotiations, in Options 11.A.5 and 11.A.6. We encourage further improvements by obliging states to refrain from introducing TRIPS-plus provisions in trade and investment agreements, and by introducing a positive obligation for states to fully incorporate public health flexibilities into national laws.  

We remain concerned about the lack of explicit provisions to ensure appropriate and efficient coordination at national, regional and international levels for the creation and management of stockpiles of essential health products, in all options under Article 13.  

We call on the Bureau and member states to ensure a more transparent drafting process and enable more timely access to the official negotiation text by non-state actors. We look forward to sharing additional comments in due course.