Review of initiatives for access to Covid-19 innovations

Medical innovations for everyone, everywhere

To effectively curb a pandemic, everyone in the world must get access to essential medical innovations as rapidly as possible. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that this is far from a given. While high-income countries were vaccinating their population multiple times, low-income countries experienced dire vaccine shortages. This disparity is unacceptable as it leads to avoidable deaths, hardship and economic damage. Access for all must be guaranteed now, to protect us against potential new Covid-19 waves and mutations as well as future pandemics.

Different public institutions have started or proposed a wide variety of initiatives to make access to medical products against Covid-19 and future pandemics more equitable. This website provides an overview of these initiatives and their characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. If you want to know more about an initiative, click on ‘read info & analysis’ in the overview below to see the full details.

Overall conclusion: there is no silver bullet. A combination of efforts is required to reach true equal access in the short- and long-term, and to reverse the power imbalances so entrenched in the current response.

Dimensions to assess initiatives for an equitable and effective Covid-19 response

We analyse the initiatives on the basis of five main dimensions:

Sufficiency – to what extent could this initiative help meet the global demand for Covid-19 innovations?

Urgency – to what extent could this initiative increase global access to Covid-19 innovations urgently?

Sustainability – to what extent could this initiative improve resilience to future public health emergencies of international concern?

Power balance – to what extent could this initiative contribute to equal power relations between high-income countries and lower-income countries?

Public first – to what extent does this initiative put public interest above commercial interest?

Overview initiatives

mRNA hub

  • Structural solution
  • Fosters generic production
  • Promotes self-sufficiency
  • Needs more funding
read info & analysis

C-TAP

  • Proven concept
  • Fosters generic production
  • Access for all countries
  • Lacks budget and support
read info & analysis

TRIPS Waiver

  • Fosters generic production
  • Promotes self-sufficiency
  • Challenges the system
  • Still blocked at WTO level
read info & analysis

Pandemic Treaty

  • Possible structural change
  • Can fill legal gaps
  • Time-consuming
  • Political will is uncertain
read info & analysis

Medicines Patent Pool

  • Proven effective
  • Fosters generic production
  • For all Covid-19 innovations
  • Only for selected countries
read info & analysis

COVAX

  • Short-term relief
  • Prioritises worst-off
  • Maintains power imbalance
  • Behind target
read info & analysis

COVAX Manufacturing Task Force

  • Fosters production
  • Lacks pro-public conditions
  • Focus on vaccines only
  • Lacks action plan
read info & analysis

Global Health Threats Fund (G20)

  • Increases global funding
  • Based on ability to pay
  • Maintains power imbalance
  • Lacks pro-public conditions
read info & analysis

Team Europe

  • Short-term relief
  • Benefits local production
  • Maintains power imbalance
  • Lacks pro-public conditions
read info & analysis

Multilateral Leaders Task Force

  • Increases global funding
  • Benefits local production
  • Maintains power imbalance
  • Lacks pro-public conditions
read info & analysis

IDA20 Regional Window

  • Increases funding
  • Stimulates collaboration
  • Lacks pro-public conditions
  • Loans form an extra burden
read info & analysis

IDA20 Private Sector Window

  • Aims to improve access
  • Funds for-profit business
  • Lacks pro-public conditions
  • Can increase inequalities
read info & analysis

HERA

  • Fosters production
  • Lacks pro-public conditions
  • Lacks democratic legitimacy
  • Dominant role pharma
read info & analysis

EU proposal to the WTO

  • Calls for more production
  • No added value
  • Delays other solutions
  • No tech transfer
read info & analysis

Compulsory licensing

  • Proven effective
  • Shifts power from pharma
  • Time-consuming
  • No tech transfer
read info & analysis