The global research-based biopharmaceutical industry has launched its own response to the World Trade Organization's recent waiver of intellectual property protection for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
The member countries of the WTO recently endorsed the waiver despite companies developing, manufacturing and distributing for administration over 12 billion doses of vaccine across 184 countries in just 30 months since the start of the pandemic.
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, which includes Medicines Australia, described the waiver as an “empty shell” and fact-free decision that will have severe consequences for innovation and global health security.
It has now issued its own response with the 'Berlin Declaration'.
Under the declaration, the industry says it will reserve an allocation of real-time production of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for priority populations in lower-income countries.
"To be successful, we call on other stakeholders to work together with industry to help make this proposal a reality and shape a future where everyone is better protected from the threat of pandemics," it said, adding, "Achieving equity requires actions from all relevant stakeholders, underpinned by sustained political support, as all countries must build the technical and health infrastructure, human resources and financial capacity to successfully vaccinate, test and care for their populations."
The declaration calls on governments to adopt approaches to future pandemics that will ensure priority groups are prioritised regardless of where they live, including health care workers and high-risk individuals.
"Companies will reserve an allocation of real-time production for distribution to priority populations in lower-income countries, as determined by health authorities during pandemics," it said.