Current drafts of the WHO Pandemic Accord lack a provision for access to knowhow/trade secrets. We drafted one.

Negotiations are currently taking place at the World Health Organization (WHO) to conclude a new pandemic agreement by May 2024. The objective of the new agreement is to learn from mistakes made during the Covid-19 pandemic and to be better prepared for future outbreaks. A key learning from the Covid-19 pandemic is the need to address access to intellectual property to assure timely and equitable access to pandemic countermeasures. 

An important issue that is not adequately addressed in drafts of the agreement that have so far been publicly available is the sharing of knowhow and trade secrets necessary for the production of pandemic products. Knowhow/trade secrets sharing is particularly important for more complex medical technologies that cannot be easily replicated with access to patents alone. Examples include vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. Therefore, the new WHO pandemic instrument needs to include a provision for access to knowhow/trade secrets. We have drafted a proposal for such a provision.

Medicines Law & Policy
Medicines Law & Policy
Medicines Law & Policy brings together legal and policy experts in the field of access to medicines, international law, and public health. We provide policy and legal analysis, best practice models and other information that can be used by governments, non-governmental organisations, product development initiatives, funding agencies, UN agencies and others working to ensure the availability of effective, safe and affordable medicines for all.

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