Dozens of countries have reviewed a proposal to the WTO on patent exemptions for the medical tools needed to combat VOCID, insisting it must be broader than vaccines, NGOs said on Saturday.
More than 60 countries have submitted a revision of their text to the World Trade Organization on ditches intellectual property protections for COVID-19 blows and other medical tools as the pandemic sinks, according to the charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the NGO Knowledge Ecology International (KEI).
KEI published what it said was the revised text, which pushed for the waiver to be broad and lasting.
The WTO did not immediately verify the authenticity of the document, but a Western diplomat close to the waiver discussions confirmed that it was genuine and had been distributed to all WTO members.
This text stated that the waiver should cover all medical “prevention, treatment and containment” tools needed to combat COVID.
He also said the waiver should last “at least three years” from the date of its entry into force, after which the WTO General Council should determine whether it could be lifted or extended.
“We are delighted to see that the governments sponsoring the proposed waiver of intellectual property COVID-19 reaffirm that the waiver aims to remove the monopoly barriers of all medical tools … necessary to address this pandemic, “said Leena Manghaney, MSF’s South Asia chief. .
“With a frightening increase in infections and deaths in developing countries and with potentially promising treatments underway, it is crucial that governments have all the flexibility at their disposal to combat this pandemic,” he said.
Since October, the WTO has faced calls from India and South Africa to temporarily withdraw these intellectual property protections, according to advocates who will boost production in developing countries and address dramatic inequality of access.
This notion has long been found fierce opposition of the pharmaceutical giants and their host countries, who insisted that patents were not the main obstacles to increasing production and warned that the measure could hamper innovation.
Positions appeared to change earlier this month, when Washington declared itself in favor of a global patent exemption for the bites, with other longtime opponents expressing its openness to discuss the issue.
This week, the European Parliament voted narrowly to urge Brussels to step behind the proposal.
However, observers have said the ambitions for the resignation appear to differ significantly between longtime supporters and those now thinking about the idea, who appear to be focusing more closely on vaccines.
It is still unclear whether countries will be able to see eye to eye, but with the pandemic that has killed more than 3.4 million people still far from over, there is intense pressure to do so.
With the new revision on the table, MSF called for “governments to move immediately towards text-based negotiations”, insisting that there was no time to lose.
In light of the WTO’s usual glacial pace of decision-making – with agreements requiring the consensual support of all 164 member states – an agreement could take time in the meantime.
According to MSF, more than 100 countries in general support the proposal, including China and Russia.
A total of 62 countries are now official sponsors of the proposal, with the incorporation of Indonesia, Fiji, Vanuatu and Namibia in recent weeks.
© 2021 AFP
Citation: Countries Claim Wider Patent Exemption Than COVID Vaccines (2021, May 23) Retrieved May 23, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-countries-urge-broader-patent -waivers.html
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