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  • Open Access
  • © 2022

Vaccines, Medicines and COVID-19

How Can WHO Be Given a Stronger Voice?

  • Explores a rethinking of global and local manufacturing of medical products after COVID-19

  • Argues that it's time to re-design the global public health governance for health R&D

  • Discusses the lessons of COVID-19 for WHO and the necessary measures that a reform of WHO would have to take

  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: SpringerBriefs in Public Health (BRIEFSPUBLIC)

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Softcover Book USD 37.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvi
  2. COVID-19 Vaccines: Between Ethics, Health and Economics

    • Germán Velásquez
    Pages 1-6Open Access
  3. Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines and Vaccines

    • Germán Velásquez
    Pages 73-92Open Access
  4. The World Health Organization Reforms in the Time of COVID-19

    • Germán Velásquez
    Pages 93-108Open Access
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 109-117

About this book

This open access book is a collection of research papers on COVID-19 by Germán Velásquez from 2020 and early 2021 that help to answer the question: How can an agency like the World Health Organization (WHO) be given a stronger voice to exercise authority and leadership? 

The considerable health, economic and social challenges that the world faced at the beginning of 2020 with COVID-19 continued and worsened in many parts of the world in the second-half of 2020 and into 2021. Many of these countries and nations wanted to explore COVID-19 on their own, sometimes without listening to the main international health bodies such as WHO, an agency of the United Nations system with long-standing experience and vast knowledge at the global level and of which all countries in the world are members. 

In this single volume, the chapters present the progress of thinking and debate — particularly in relation to drugs and vaccines — that would enable a response to the COVID-19 pandemic or to subsequent crises that may arise. Among the topics covered:
  • COVID-19 Vaccines: Between Ethics, Health and Economics
  • Medicines and Intellectual Property: 10 Years of the WHO Global Strategy
  • Re-thinking Global and Local Manufacturing of Medical Products After COVID-19
  • Rethinking R&D for Pharmaceutical Products After the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Shock
  • Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines and Vaccines
  • The World Health Organization Reforms in the Time of COVID-19
Vaccines, Medicines and COVID-19: How Can WHO Be Given a Stronger Voice? is essential reading for negotiators from the 194 member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO); World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) staff participating in these negotiations; academics and students of public health, medicine, health sciences, law, sociology and political science; and intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations that follow the issue of access to treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.


  • COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic
  • access to affordable essential medicines
  • Vaccine nationalism and vaccine safety
  • World Health Organization reform
  • Biosimilars and biotherapeutics
  • COVAX Facility
  • COVID-19 diagnostics
  • Global health preparedness
  • Article 19 of the WHO Constitution
  • access to COVID-19 tools (ACT) accelerator
  • Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)
  • Inter-Governmental Working Group (IGWG)
  • Patentability criteria
  • Pharmaceutical sovereignty
  • Research and Development (R&D)
  • Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
  • World Health Assembly (WHA)
  • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • non-governmental organization (NGOs)
  • Open Access

Authors and Affiliations

  • Policy and Health, South Centre, Geneva 19, Switzerland

    Germán Velásquez

About the author

Germán Velásquez is, since 2010, the Special Adviser for Policy and Health of the South Centre in Geneva, Switzerland, which is an intergovernmental think tank of and for developing countries.  

Until May 2010, he was Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, at the Director-General’s Office, in Geneva. He is a pioneer in the new area on health, intellectual property and access to medicines, and he represented WHO at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) from 2001 to 2010.

Germán Velásquez graduated from Javeriana University, Bogotá, Colombia, with a degree in Philosophy and Humanities that was further complemented by a Master’s in Economics and a PhD in Health Economics from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. In 2010, he received a PhD Honoris Causa on Public Health from the University of Caldas, Colombia. In October 2015, he received a Honoris Causa Doctorate from the Faculty of Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.

Germán Velásquez is author or co-author of numerous publications on subjects such as health economics and medicines, health insurance schemes, globalisation, international trade agreements, intellectual property and access to medicines.  

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 37.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)