U.S. Statement on the “Solidarity Call to Action to realize equitable global access to COVID-19 health technologies through pooling of knowledge, intellectual property and data”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
May 29, 2020
The United States believes that international cooperation is critical to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and promote health and safety globally. We must underscore the essential role of innovation in reaching this goal. Over the past few months, innovation on diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines for COVID-19 has moved at an unprecedented pace. The shared commitment to ending the pandemic on the part of governments, international partners, and the private sector may make it possible to bring safe and effective products to global markets much faster than has ever been done in the past. We therefore urge WHO, Member States, and all stakeholders to be thoughtful in their approach to the issues in this call to action and to ensure that any efforts to respond to the call enhance, and do not undermine, ongoing research and development efforts and other investments in innovation. The United States emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the various global efforts to accelerate development and access for COVID-19 products are voluntary, complementary, and mutually supportive. We are also committed to achieving equitable and affordable access for all, without undermining longstanding incentives for innovations that the world needs now more than ever. We urge the WHO and Member States to focus their attention on legitimate barriers to global access for forthcoming COVID-19 health products. We also urge WHO to leverage existing relationships, especially trilateral work with the World Intellectual Property Organization and World Trade Organization, in recognition of the fact that WIPO is the UN specialized agency for intellectual property issues, and that WTO has expertise in trade-related issues.