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April 11, 2024

GHTC submitted the following intervention at a US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) listening session held on April 11 on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body's pandemic accord process.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the pandemic accord process. I represent the Global Health Technologies Coalition, an R&D-focused advocacy coalition of more than 45 members. 

Given the late stage of negotiations, we want to highlight potential areas that can be enhanced in the current draft and offer small tweaks and some specific changes that we would like to see reflected in the final agreement.  

Firstly, we call on the United States to consider explicit language underscoring the importance of gender equity and broader inclusion across all stages of research and development (R&D) to ensure effective pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. While there is a strong focus on gender equity in certain parts of the current draft, we believe that this language should be reflected consistently and explicitly across all sections of the text, not just those specifically focused on equity and inclusion.  

We note that in Article 9, language on equitable representation in clinical trials has been removed; GHTC recommends reinstating this language, as well as reinstating detailed language on enhancing clinical trials capacity, including for health research workforce. There should also be an explicit reference to the inclusion of underserved populations in all their diversity in clinical trials, including children and people who are pregnant or of childbearing age.  

In Article 10, we urge the United States to push to expand provisions to incentivize continuous research for epidemic-prone diseases. Furthermore, we call on the United States to continue to stress the importance of equitable access to medical countermeasures and call for transparency provisions that focus on compelling the publication of license agreements to be included, particularly in Article 11.  

Finally, we call on the United States to support provisions that underscore the importance of regulatory capacity, not just harmonization. Text should be added that establishes regional protocols for the regulation of products during health emergencies. The current draft only focuses on licensing of pandemic products without considering broader elements of the regulatory ecosystem. In addition, we emphasize the need for greater coordination between regulatory authorities and ethics committees for clinical trials and highlight the pivotal role of the World Health Organization in coordinating research efforts and defining research priorities.  

Thank you for your consideration, and good luck in the final stretch of negotiations!