Keynote speech by FIND at the first health working group meeting at G20 in India

Priority 2

Strengthening cooperation in pharmaceutical sector with focus on availability and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medical countermeasures (vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics)

Keynote delivered by Bill Rodriguez, FIND CEO
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, 18 January 2023

    The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the issues of inequitable access to medical countermeasures (VTDs; vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics), especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In the case of diagnostics, work from Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator resulted in increased production of diagnostic tests and experience from three technology transfer programmes. To date, 60% of the world’s rapid test manufacturing capacity is still limited to only three countries – USA, Korea and China – with the needs of LICs/LMICs not met adequately.

    Increasing access to affordable diagnostic tests will require investments in expanding manufacturing to more regions and focus on technology transfer as a key area. The successful technical completion of three projects shows a path to achieving supply chain readiness and global diversification of manufacturing capacity. Sustainable market demand, especially in periods between pandemic outbreaks is essential and therefore regional public health priorities need to be agreed. Regulatory pathways for products produced by new manufacturing centres and where feasible harmonization of approvals, including for emergency use, are essential both to secure rapid access but also to drive sustainable demand, something that cannot be achieved on national level.

    The ACT-Accelerator demonstrated that the creation of new partnerships between technology companies and regional or local manufacturing entities can expand access to essential medical countermeasures. The Indian G20 Presidency aims to draw from ACT-Accelerator lessons and deliberate on the proposal to develop a Global Medical Countermeasures Coordination Platform to combat future pandemics alongside creating regional R&D and manufacturing networks for VTDs. For diagnostics, FIND is supporting a discussion on the creation of in international diagnostics alliance, to be a pillar in a future mechanism and stands ready to provide support to WHO, G20/G7 and national member states to provide coordination and technical support for global, equitable and affordable access to diagnostics.

    Keynote presentation (slides)