On the fourth anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, GCAP signed together with several GCAP members and about 50 other CSOs to send a powerful message to President Biden and President von der Leyen. The letter applauds the domestic efforts made by the respective administrations to combat health crises but emphasizes the need for a global commitment to ensure equitable access to medicines.

The letter acknowledges the steps taken by President Biden to tackle pharmaceutical price gouging and by President von der Leyen in proposing reform packages to overcome intellectual property barriers. However, it urges both leaders to extend their resolve globally, emphasizing that the lives of people in low and middle-income countries deserve the same protection.

At the forefront of the letter is a call to action for President Biden and President von der Leyen to support measures within the World Health Organization’s Pandemic Accord. This includes:

Ending Patent Hypocrisy Globally: The letter urges the leaders to ensure the Pandemic Accord contains an instrument supporting regional compulsory licenses and sharing information claimed as trade secrets. It calls for the utilisation of TRIPS flexibilities to expand access to medical products without intellectual property holder permission.

Sharing Pharmaceutical Technology and Knowhow: As leaders in medical technology development and funding, the EU and US are urged to commit to sharing medical countermeasures with the WHO Health Technology Access Pool. The letter advocates for open-sourcing technology and knowhow behind publicly funded medical innovations.

Fair and Equitable Allocation of Medical Counter Measures: The call is made to prioritize health workers and populations most at risk of infection globally during the next pandemic, ensuring fair and equitable access to vaccines, tests and treatments.

Global Benefit-sharing for Scientific Progress: The letter proposes adopting a system of access to pathogens and benefit-sharing for all potential pandemic diseases, ensuring fair access to countermeasures produced and benefiting from financial contributions.

Embedding Transparency in Global Health: The public’s right to know is emphasized, calling for the publication and scrutiny of public financing for R&D, manufacturing, and procurement contracts.

The letter concludes by urging Biden and von der Leyen to exercise moral leadership, emphasizing that a fair and equitable response to health crises benefits everyone. The signatories hope that concrete commitments will pave the way for a shorter and less deadly next pandemic, valuing the lives of everyone, everywhere equally.

The full letter, demands, and list of signatories are available here.