Statement: WHO License Is a Model for Sharing Medical Technology With Humanity

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Medicines Patent Pool announced a licensing agreement with the Spanish National Research Council to make a COVID-19 test technology available for worldwide manufacture, through WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP). It is the first C-TAP license and the first open global license for the patents and know-how of a COVID medical technology. Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Director, issued the following statement:

Early in the pandemic, many leaders pledged to share medical tools against COVID-19 with the world. Their failure to follow through has contributed to preventable suffering, death and the long pandemic that we all confront today.

“WHO offers a different path. Today’s agreement with the Spanish National Research Council is a model for sharing medical technology with humanity. It shows us the world as it can be, and the international response to a pandemic as it must be.

“We start small today, with a single antibody test. WHO already is in talks with second-generation vaccine makers as well. And we are not naïve about the resistance that many pharmaceutical corporations will offer to following this path.

“But it is a path to a better world: nations, scientists and manufacturers sharing medical knowledge and teaching one another to make effective tests, treatments and vaccines at scale. It is a path to mitigate rationing, and toward ending medical apartheid. If we must, we will lay it one medical tool at a time.”