Deadline extended: HHS seeks public input on pandemic response issues under consideration at WHO negotiations

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline for public input on the Notice and Request for Comments on the Implications of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Commitments/Regimes and Other Proposed Commitments. All comments must now be received by 5 p.m. ET on January 31, 2024.

World Health Organization (WHO) members are currently negotiating an international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response to strengthen the global health architecture to protect and promote the health and well-being of all people. HHS will use input received from the Request for Comments to help inform the U.S. government’s negotiating position.

Stakeholders are invited to provide comments on all issues raised by the negotiating text. The Notice also seeks information on how stakeholders’ efforts to facilitate a pandemic response such as the creation and equitable deployment of safe and effective diagnostics, vaccines, and treatments, can be advanced or hindered by concepts and commitments under consideration in the negotiating text. Additionally, HHS seeks responses to questions on specific sections and concepts.

“Given the critical role USPTO stakeholders play in the innovation process, in getting diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics to market, and in protecting global public health, we encourage broad participation in the RFC,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.