The biopharmaceutical industry is focused first and foremost on beating COVID-19 with diagnostics, treatments and vaccines that will be made affordable and accessible to patients in need. In considering countermeasures to the current pandemic, we urge governments to avoid any measures that will inhibit the R&D projects and disrupt global trade, impeding the ability of the global biotechnology supply chain to function. As we collaborate globally to fight this pandemic, it is critical that governments focus on setting science-based policies that encourage continued R&D.
See here for more information on policy issues affecting the global biotechnology sector R&D efforts on COVID-19.
Global Supply Chains
In times of crisis, the need to maintain open trade and robust and efficient supply chains is particularly critical to ensure uninhibited access to critical goods, such as life-saving treatments and agricultural and other food products. We commend global coordination efforts to minimize disruptions to trade and global supply chains, such as those undertaken by the G20, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and others.
Intellectual Property (IP) protections are vital to enable biomedical innovation – and for future pandemic preparedness. We encourage agencies to recognize that coercive measures to suspend or eliminate IP protections will not accelerate the development of new treatments or vaccines for COVID-19. In fact, strong IP protections are the very reason that so many entities around the world were poised to promptly shift their R&D efforts to fight this crisis. IP encourages the development of expertise, capacity, and infrastructure, as well as investment in risky and extraordinarily expensive research and development. Dozens of companies have already stepped up and are taking risks and redeploying resources to meet the urgent need.
Free Flow of Scientific Data
The global scientific community requires the free flow of scientific information related to COVID-19 in order to develop treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics. Conditions placed on the sharing of genetic sequence data or biological samples, or limitations regarding the transfer or data and information across borders can significantly delay or even deny the ability of the scientific community to respond. In the spirit of reinforcing greater international cooperation, we encourage efforts to ensure scientific data relevant to COVID-19 is shared in a timely and efficient manner with researchers globally.
As companies make strides towards potential vaccines and treatments, regulatory agencies play a critical role in accelerating patient access. We urge national governments to share the learnings from clinical trials and other relevant information in real time with governments, other companies and other relevant entities to advance the development of additional therapies and vaccines.
For further information on the policies needed to support innovation, please see the ICBA Statement on COVID-19.