Review of International Health Regulations Makes Space in Treaty Talks

The opposition to the idea of a pandemic treaty appears to be strengthening, even as there is emerging preference for a revision of existing rules such as the International Health Regulations, in order to better address future emergencies.On-going discussions suggest that WHO member states might prefer other ways to govern pandemic preparedness and response instead of crafting a new instrument. As in other policy spheres, these matters too, are being driven by geopolitical considerations. At a meeting this week, the working group on strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies (WGPR), set up to discuss the need for a new legal … Continue reading Review of International Health Regulations Makes Space in Treaty Talks

“Health is a strategic frontline target”: Guest Essay by Mukesh Kapila on the Tigray Crisis

Health in the cross hairs of the Tigray conflict By Mukesh Kapila As Ethiopia’s civil war  approaches its first deadly anniversary in November, there is, as yet, little prospect for peace.  The underlying causes of the immediate conflict are bitterly contested and the essential conditions for solutions remain elusive. Geopolitical factors mean that the African Union and United Nations are paralysed, even if there was a mood for external intervention after the Afghanistan debacle. Ethiopia was starting to do well… Ethiopia has a long and bloody history with repeated internal conflicts distinguished by extreme brutalities. But recent periods of peace and stability were bearing fruit. … Continue reading “Health is a strategic frontline target”: Guest Essay by Mukesh Kapila on the Tigray Crisis

Understanding Germany’s Trenchant Opposition To the TRIPS Waiver

By Rithika Sangameshwaran In January 2021, Achim Kessler, member of the Left Party of Germany (known as Die Linke) co-submitted a motion in the Bundestag (Parliament). It called on the German Federal Government to support the TRIPS waiver. After months of deliberation, the motion was rejected in May 2021, with majority members voting against it. While they unanimously agreed that more needed to be done to increase global vaccine production, just like at the WTO, they differed on ways to achieve it. “There is a difference even within the government, between members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and members of the conservative party. Some … Continue reading Understanding Germany’s Trenchant Opposition To the TRIPS Waiver

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The dash for the pandemic treaty

A decision-text to kick start discussions towards a pandemic treaty is being considered by member states this week. Member states will consider establishing an intergovernmental meeting (IGM) to draft and negotiate a WHO framework convention on pandemic preparedness and response. In line with timelines discussed in internal EU documents that Geneva Health Files has seen, this IGM is expected to convene its first meeting not later than the end of June 2021. According to the draft text, “meetings of the IGM shall be held either in person, virtually or in hybrid format” and shall conduct its work in accordance with … Continue reading The dash for the pandemic treaty

Views from a vaccine manufacturer: Incepta, Bangladesh

THE GENEVA HEALTH FILES INTERVIEW As we reported recently, the debate around enabling technology transfer is proving to be critical in addressing shortages in the production of vaccines to fight back the pandemic. We wanted to know from manufacturers from developing countries on the challenges they face in making vaccines for COVID-19. Geneva Health Files brings you an interview with Abdul Muktadir, Chairman & Managing Director, of the Dhaka-based company Incepta Pharmaceuticals Limited. Muktadir, an industrial pharmacist by training, leads Incepta, which was established in 1999. A company specialising in biosimilars and vaccines, Incepta employs nearly 10,000 people and produces about 1000 … Continue reading Views from a vaccine manufacturer: Incepta, Bangladesh

COVAX 2021: The Gavi Board Dossiers

COVAX IN 2021: WILL THE PIECES COME TOGETHER? What Gavi’s Board documents say. There is tremendous pressure on Gavi – The Vaccine Alliance and its partners including WHO to deliver vaccines for the pandemic even as the increasing complexity of COVID-19 challenges scientists and policy-makers. The risks facing Gavi and the constraints it faces as the responsible global health agency in making COVID-19 vaccines available to the world, is significant. This is not only about Gavi. At stake are some of the poorest countries in the world for whom the COVAX Facility is the only ticket out of the pandemic. … Continue reading COVAX 2021: The Gavi Board Dossiers

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COVID-19 Omnibus Resolution at the UN

Institutional responses to the pandemic continue to be shaped by international organizations in an effort to improve coordination and streamline processes to deal with COVID-19 in an uneven world characterised by weak health systems, differing approaches to science and varying commitments to address human rights issues. Under the aegis of the UN General Assembly, countries are working on a draft omnibus resolution on the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, an “omnibus resolution” longer than usual resolutions, relating to all aspects of a particular issue, containing more information and seeking specific action from governments. While not binding, UNGA resolutions do serve as a … Continue reading COVID-19 Omnibus Resolution at the UN

WHO-led Research & Innovation Forum on COVID-19: July 2

WHO convened a Global Research and Innovation Forum on COVID-19 this week, bringing together 1300 experts virtually including researchers, funders and developers, to discuss the state of the science and to take stock of the six-month old pandemic which has resulted in more than half a million deaths, infected upwards of 10 million people in more than 200 countries, and has devastated lives and livelihoods. The forum was convened in order lay out the existing knowledge gaps, map emerging research priorities and decide on the critical research questions that need to be addressed going forward. The conference follows the first … Continue reading WHO-led Research & Innovation Forum on COVID-19: July 2

WHO’s Allocation Framework on COVID19 health products

The WHO Allocation Framework; Q&A with Achal Prabhala WHO’s efforts to put in place a plan to divvy up COVID-19 health products equitably across the world is now being hashed out, even as member-states and companies strike up bilateral deals in the hope of getting preferential access, particularly to vaccines, when they become available. It is not clear whether WHO will be able to prevail on countries to implement what it hopes will be a global allocation mechanism to ensure equitable allocation. In fact it is not even clear whether WHO will be able to ensure that Gavi’s COVAX Facility … Continue reading WHO’s Allocation Framework on COVID19 health products

WTO: COVID19 – Measures regarding trade-related intellectual property rights

WTO’s TRIPS Council met informally last week on June 19, 2020 to consider the implications of the pandemic for council related work and its future agenda, IP measures taken in the context of COVID19 and continuing positions on non-violation and situation complaints. It is interesting to take note of the range of IP measures taken in the context of the pandemic.  Delegations were invited to share information and best practices on intellectual property measures taken in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The WTO secretariat has drawn up a non-exhaustive of IP measures compiled from official sources. “It represents an … Continue reading WTO: COVID19 – Measures regarding trade-related intellectual property rights