Costa Rica submits proposal for WHO to facilitate access to technologies to combat COVID-19

  • Proposal was submitted by the Costa Rican President and the Health Minister to the Director-General of the WHO.
  • The proposal suggests creating a repository of information on diagnostic tests, devices, medication or vaccines, with free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable terms, in all member countries of the Organization.
  • It further urges the WHO to develop a memorandum of understanding to share this technology, and to promote its implementation with financial support from the public and private sectors, as well as from international organizations

President Carlos Alvarado and Health Minister Daniel Salas have sent a proposal to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), suggesting that access to and use of intellectual property for technologies to detect, prevent, control and treat the COVID-19 pandemic be provided.

The letter put forward the creation of a repository of existing knowledge related to diagnostic tests, devices, drugs or vaccines, which would be available in the form of patents, both granted and in process; test data provided to regulatory authorities, expert knowledge, cell lines (cell cultures), copyrights and designs for the manufacture of diagnostic tests, devices, drugs or vaccines. The aim is to guarantee their free access and use by member countries.

The Costa Rican Government proposes that the WHO “develop a concise memorandum of understanding with the intention of inviting non-profit organizations, industry and other relevant actors in the WHO member states to sign the memorandum and enable these mechanisms for the exchange and use of information.

“This request is part of the arduous, inter-institutional effort and work that we have embarked upon in Costa Rica. We know that extraordinary work is required from all member states, but we have already shown that we are capable of always going further,” said President Alvarado.

The letter concludes by requesting that the Global Observatory on Health Research and Development create a database on research and development activities related to COVID-19, including estimates of the costs of clinical trials and subsidies provided by governments and charities.