In the eye of the storm over Covid-19-linked vaccine inequities, Big Pharma has proposed a framework to improve the real-time delivery of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to priority populations in lower-income countries, during future pandemics.
Labelled the “Berlin Declaration", the biopharmaceutical industry has urged all those involved with pandemic preparedness - multilateral organizations, decision-makers and members of the G7 and G20 - to discuss the proposal and facilitate its implementation.
"A prerequisite for the declaration to succeed is to ensure that health systems in lower income countries are better prepared to absorb and deliver vaccines and treatments, and for high income countries to provide the necessary political and financial support. The declaration underscores the necessity for a strong innovation eco-system, grounded in intellectual property rights, and the removal of trade and regulatory barriers to export," said a note from IFPMA (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations) .
"Without robust plans to deliver pandemic vaccines, treatments and diagnostics and care to populations in all countries, attempts to improve equity will falter," it added.
The declaration is an acknowledgement that while innovation and manufacturing scaling succeeded in an unprecedented way during Covid-19, efforts to achieve equitable access were not fully realized because of inadequate financing mechanisms and a lack of country readiness which still inhibits vaccines from getting to every arm that needs it. the note said.
For future pandemics, it is critical to ensure countries have the technical and health infrastructure, human resources and financial capacity as well as political support to vaccinate, test and care for their populations, they said, adding, "the success of the proposal requires open borders and no trade restrictions." Jean-Christophe Tellier, IFPMA President and Chief Executive of UCB, pointed out that, for the new proposal to become reality, "we will need to work with G7, and later this year in Bali with G20 to flesh out how to make it work."