Few days ago called our attention the article “Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV exposes a flaw in the Nagoya Protocol” written by Thomas B. Cueni. The author takes the present pandemic to “question the sense of retaining pathogens within the scope of the Nagoya Protocol and associated national legislation”,although it is clear from the article itself that the Nagoya Protocol or the national Access to genetic resources and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) legislation and procedures in China have not impeded or even played a role at all in the normal and expedited sharing of COVID-19. Indeed, one of the main highlights of this article is how fast has been shared not only the virus but its related data, something that, no doubt, is going to benefit the international community into a quick development of vaccines. However, I believe there is also no doubt that not all the countries are going to benefit in the same way from those developments and, clearly, not all the citizens in the world are going to have equal access to those vaccines.
Mr. Cueni, who is the director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, concludes that “It is surely in the overriding interest of global public health and epidemic and pandemic preparedness for the international community to work towards an effective and internationally coherent approach to exempt pathogens from the protocol.”
What do you think about the article? Do you think there is a real problem with the scope of the Nagoya Protocol or, on the contrary, Mr. Cueni is ignoring the provisions under article 4, which would allow the quick implementation of any benefit-sharing arrangement under the WHO as it is the case of the PIP framework? Why Mr. Cueni is not talking about benefit-sharing in his article and focuses just in access? Do you know any example of benefit-sharing that involves the pharmaceutical industry or pharmaceutical companies that apply the ABS principle and share information in their benefit-sharing agreements? Why the pharmaceutical industry is not applying the principle of Access and Benefit-Sharing and it is using any excuse to challenge the Nagoya Protocol?
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