COVID-19: Principles for Global Access, Innovation and Cooperation

COVID-19 doctor with pill in hospital doctor with pill in hospital ©CanStockPhoto dolgachov 950px web

(23 April 2020) EPSU has signed a statement coordinated by Public Citizen which outlines a number of principles to guide the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with one unifying goal: making drugs affordable and accessible for all. The principles are: innovation for all; access for all; solidarity and global cooperation; and good governance and transparency.

The statement calls on governments, agencies, manufacturers, donors and development partners to commit to global principles for access, innovation and cooperation related to the covid-19 pandemic. It was delivered to G20 health ministers ahead of their meeting on April 19-20 during which they discussed actions to jointly combat the pandemic, and laid the groundwork for an online petition calling on EU institutions and national governments to ensure public investments are allocated following principles of access, affordability, good governance, transparency and solidarity.

Acknowledging that nationalistic responses to COVID-19 are ineffective, and that access to medical breakthroughs addressing COVID-19 risk being restricted by nation, price, limited production and fragmented supply lines etc, the principles encourage corporations, health agencies and governments to share medical technology, invest in public manufactureng capacity and promote access for all.

Background information

G20 Health Ministers held a virtual meeting on 19th-20th April to discuss weaknesses in health systems that made the world so vulnerable to coronavirus outbreak and other pandemics. A statement of the Saudi G20 secretariat confirmed that the ministers adopted preventative measures to contain the pandemic, but did not elaborate.

Since the principles were sent to the G20 Health Ministers, the UN published the UN Declaration in International cooperation to ensure global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to face COVID-19, which includes many of the same principles, although regrettably fails to address important issues related to innovation for all.