Opinion: Preparing for the next pandemic: Time to follow a social business model for patent-free global medicine production

Preparing for the next pandemic will require more than a commitment from delegates at the World Health Assembly. It requires a structural shift toward a fairer framework of global health.

The World Health Assembly, which is meeting in Geneva for the first time since the pandemic began, has agreed to set a framework to begin preparing for future pandemics. But this decision-making body of the World Health Organization, with its many delegates from middle- and low-income countries, faces a difficult reality: Even as the world only begins to comprehend the scale of our devastating failures responding to the coronavirus pandemic, the rich countries of the world want to move on from the pandemic.

Preparing for the next pandemic will require more than a commitment from delegates at the World Health Assembly. It requires a structural shift toward a fairer framework of global health, where power is distributed more equitably via a social business model of vaccine and drug production. Social business is the form of business which is built on the principle of solving human problems in a sustainable business way, where owners are not interested in taking any profit except for the return of the original investment amount over a period of time. It’s a non-dividend company aimed at solving social problems, not personal money-making.

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