Technical brief |

The wrong prescription for vaccine access

Affordable access to lifesaving vaccines not guaranteed as CEPI continues to avoid concrete commitments

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Photograph by Louise Annaud

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched in 2017 in the wake of the devastating 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. CEPI’s mandate is to finance and coordinate the development of new vaccines to prevent and contain infectious disease epidemics. The initiative has raised an unprecedented US$740 million in public and philanthropic contributions to date.

As a medical humanitarian organisation and first responder in emergencies and outbreaks, MSF engaged extensively with CEPI as it developed its original Equitable Access Policy, which contained clear commitments to ensure affordable prices, transparency and pro-access management of intellectual property generated with CEPI funding – all a reflection of CEPI’s promise of public interest research and development. However, in December 2018 the CEPI Board adopted a revised policy that undermines these earlier commitments for CEPI-funded vaccines.

This policy brief examines the worrying shortcomings of CEPI’s revised access policy as reflected in subsequent documents released by CEPI. We recommend changes required to safeguard people’s access to lifesaving vaccines and ensure CEPI’s public and philanthropic funding is used responsibly.