By Felipe Carvalho, Yuanqiong Hu, Leena Menghaney
In response to the COVID-19 “TRIPS waiver” proposal submitted by South Africa and India for a temporary waiver from certain pharmaceutical intellectual property (IP) obligations at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Thomas Cueni, the director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) recently published an opinion piece in The New York Times that spoke up against the waiver and in support of keeping the current industry-led IP monopolies in place during the pandemic. Here the authors vigorously rebut Cueni’s position and examine how and why his arguments are flawed.
Leena Menghaney, Global IP Advisor, MSF Access Campaign
Julien Potet, MSF Access Campaign Policy Advisor, NTDs and Vaccines
More than 18 months into the pandemic, there are still very few therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients. Dexamethasone, a widely available and affordable corticosteroid now frequently used for severe and critical COVID-19 patients worldwide, was the first drug recommended for COVID-19 treatment by the World Health Organization (WHO). Tocilizumab and sarilumab (IL-6 inhibitors) were the next to be recommended for the same category of patients.
By Sinhye Ha, Advocacy Advisor for Southeast, East Asia, Pacific, MSF Access Campaign
With previous hard-earned experience dealing with health crises, it was little surprise when South Korea’s response at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was widely regarded as exemplary. From dealing with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, influenza H1N1 in 2009, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2015, each event boosted the country’s disease preparedness.
But who knew COVID-19 would become a pandemic that would last this long? With confidence in the country’s response capacity, and perhaps some trust in the COVAX Facility to deliver…
Victorine de Milliano, Policy Advisor - UK, MSF Access Campaign
In 2015, right before I started as an intern at Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), I wrote an opinion piece in a Dutch newspaper in response to the thousands of people who were losing their lives in the Mediterranean Sea as they tried to reach Europe. Europe’s discriminatory migration polices, I wrote, determined who deserved to live and who did not. Now, six years later I’m back with MSF and seeing the same story of lethal discrimination playing out again, this time in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. …
Felipe de Carvalho, MSF Access Campaign Advocacy Advisor, Brazil
Brazil’s Supreme Court recently handed down a decision to make a 25-year-old law permitting pharma companies to extend their monopolies on new drugs unconstitutional. It’s an important victory for access to medicines as Felipe de Carvalho explains in conversation with us.
Access Campaign: First, congratulations! This has been a very long struggle — the pharmaceutical industry has been trying to block any revision of this law for many years, why is that?
Felipe de Carvalho: Yes, it’s really a fantastic moment for all of us here who have been fighting for…
Alain Alsalhani, Vaccines and Special Projects Pharmacist
Manuel Martin, Medical Innovation and Access Policy Advisor
Lara Dovifat, Campaigns Manager
MSF Access Campaign
The global inequity in access to COVID-19 vaccine doses has received significant attention over the past couple of months, but few have paid attention to one of the root causes exacerbating this inequity: control of knowledge and technical capacity to produce these vaccines has been in the hands of just a few manufacturers. …
Gilles Van Cutsem, Leader of the AIDS Working Group and Senior HIV/TB Adviser, MSF
Amanda Banda, HIV/AIDS Advocacy Consultant, MSF
Can we do what needs to be done to stop people dying from HIV/AIDS? Maybe — but only if we pay more attention to the people who are most at risk of dying. World leaders are discussing the next steps in the fight against the disease at the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS on the 8-10th of June. …
Dr. Salih M. Auwal, Shinkafi, Nigeria
I am responsible in our clinic for ensuring that no one brings in COVID-19. So far, we have succeeded. Every patient is screened and tested. As a result, we have detected quite a few cases. Of course, I’m always a little worried of catching it myself. But we have enough protective equipment in our clinic. The situation is different in the state clinics. There, to this day, the staff do not have sufficient masks, sometimes not even gloves.
In Nigeria, if you come as a patient with suspected COVID-19 to the admissions department of…
Adam Houston, Medical Policy & Advocacy Officer, and Jason Nickerson, Humanitarian Affairs Advisor, MSF Canada
In July of 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the first of eight national leaders whose names appeared in an op-ed in the Washington Post that closed with the following call to action: “We call on global leaders to commit to contributing to an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, based on the spirit of a greater freedom for all.”
Nine months on, Canada has secured more than 10 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for every Canadian but, despite vague public announcements, has still not…
We’re in a time of unprecedented mobilisation to tackle COVID-19. Over the last year, governments and philanthropies have contributed billions of dollars to the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines. Heads of state have spoken about making the vaccines “global public goods”, and the COVAX Facility was launched to deliver COVID-19 vaccines equitably across the world.
But, one year on, we face huge vaccine inequity around the world, with just 0.2% of all vaccines going to low-income countries.
Here we share recommendations to help ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are accessible for everyone who needs them.
We need global solidarity to…
This blog is a place to reflect on our experiences working for access to medicines. For the official MSF Access Campaign website please visit msfaccess.org.