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Drug makers, BMGF pledge to strive for global access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines

They assured that they will work towards developing innovations, ensuring timely availability and affordability of tools and interventions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, their effective and equitable distribution, as well as safety

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Several global life sciences companies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have pledged and committed to expand global access for COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

In a collective statement, they informed, “COVID-19’s existence anywhere poses a threat to communities everywhere. The health, social, and economic impacts can only be addressed through the collective actions of stakeholders across private, public, and philanthropic sectors in partnership with civil society. As organisations dedicated to improving and protecting global health, with our varied skills, roles, and resources, we remain committed to doing our part in ending this pandemic worldwide.”

The statement said, “Earlier this year AstraZeneca; Bayer; bioMérieux; Boehringer Ingelheim; Bristol Myers Squibb; Eisai; Eli Lilly; Gilead; GSK; Johnson & Johnson; Merck & Co (known as MSD outside the US and Canada); Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; Novartis; Pfizer; Roche; and Sanofi together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation each pledged ourselves to the fight against COVID-19.”

The companies and BMGF said that through partnerships with other stakeholders they will strive to ensure global access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines that will help to accelerate the end of the pandemic. To accomplish this critical goal, they promised to:

Develop innovations for patients worldwide. “We will continue advancing the research and development of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines that are suitable to meet the needs of populations around the world. To do so, we will work to expand clinical trials to account for diverse representation including lower-income settings and endeavour to address the specific product characteristics needed for use in lower-income settings even after new innovations are brought forward,” assured the companies through a statement.

Strive for timely availability. “By scaling up manufacturing at unprecedented speed and much earlier than usual, we will bring large quantities of safe and effective innovations to countries around the world for broad distribution as early as possible, no matter their income level. Mechanisms for rapidly escalating supply must be aligned with the specific context of a rapid pandemic response and tailored to each product, with options including early voluntary licensing and appropriate approaches to peer-to-peer innovator company manufacturing agreements,” they pledged.

Enable affordability for lower income countries. The companies said, “We will pursue a range of approa