Global Collaborations Are Helping Increase Access to COVID-19 Treatments Throughout Southeast Asia
Collaborations between governments, NGOs and private companies have helped research, develop, manufacture and deliver COVID-19 vaccines and treatments in record time. Biopharmaceutical companies were able to build on years of investments to develop safe and effective countermeasures. This demonstrates a model for health systems to effectively respond to public health threats in the future.
In order to build greater resiliency in public health systems around the world and prepare for future pandemics and health crises, leaders in Southeast Asia will need to continue to incentivize innovation and support voluntary partnerships.
Providing greater patient access to COVID-19 treatments, biopharmaceutical innovators are partnering with organizations to increase production.
For example, in January 2022, the Medicines Patent Pool announced that it signed an agreement with Merck allowing 27 generic manufacturing companies to produce the oral COVID-19 antiviral medication molnupiravir. This agreement also included supplying 105 low- and-middle-income countries with the antiviral treatment, including some in Southeast Asia.
In September 2022, the COVID Treatment Quick Start Consortium was announced. The consortium, a public-private partnership with Pfizer and others, is supporting 10 countries, including Laos, to introduce and expand access to COVID-19 oral antiviral therapies for high-risk populations.
Leaders in the public and private sectors should continue working together to ensure treatments, like those developed for COVID-19, can be accessed by patients everywhere. Intellectual property is not a barrier to access; indeed, it facilitates the partnerships necessary to provide patients with increased access to vaccines and therapies.