The U.S. Chamber was selected to provide spoken remarks on April 12 during the WHO's INB Public Hearing series, "The World Together," which took place April 12-13. The guiding question of the public hearing was: “What substantive elements do you think should be included in a new international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response?” Within a 250 word limit, the Chamber responded the following:
"Only a whole-of-society approach that includes the private sector and civil society will ensure our success in future pandemic preparedness and response (PPR). The private sector offers deep expertise and lessons learned across the entire PPR value chain, from R&D and analysis of pathogens, to manufacturing, storage, communication, and delivery of medical products. Any international agreement should commit to direct engagement with the business community and decision-making processes that allow for public-private coordination at every stage of pandemic response.
"Within the current pandemic, we have moved away from issues of vaccine supply and into broader health systems challenges related to infrastructure, logistics, vaccine hesitancy and workforce. Therefore, we must prioritize health systems strengthening for future pandemics. Predictable and sustainable financing is the foundation of strong health systems; Ministers of Finance should work more closely with Ministers of Health to establish resilient health systems.
"The lack of regulatory convergence has significantly slowed access to safe and effective medical products. Member States should adopt globally convergent regulatory requirements, good reliance practices, work-sharing, and electronic processes to drive efficient access as part of pandemic PPR.
"Finally, we must preserve IP protections. COVID-19 medical products are the result of decades of investment in R&D--investment contingent on strong and clear IP rules that enabled hundreds of international industry partnerships and unprecedented global supplies. IP laws stimulate innovation ecosystems that ensure investment in the next generation of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics to combat future pandemics."