TRIPS Waiver Proposal For Covid Vaccines
March 3, 2021
TRIPS, the WTO international treaty that protects intellectual property, provides for wavers under some circumstances, and many health experts claim that the pandemic is one of them. There is a proposal to allow countries to produce and use all anti COVID-19 technologies without fear of infringing IP. The measure would be time-limited, but countries with big pharmaceutical industries — the US, Canada, the EU and the UK, are pushing back. Writing in The Conversation, Enrico Bonadio and Dhanay M. Cadillo, argue that a waiver wouldn’t allow all developing countries to secure medicines and other anti-COVID technologies in a timely way, because many would need to change their own laws and trade agreements quickly. They suggest intensifying plans to share vaccines and other useful technologies available quickly for as many developing countries as possible. “There is no doubt that this unprecedented public health tragedy should trigger a rethink of the current intellectual property policies adopted by developed countries and often exported to poor nations,” they conclude, but a waiver at this point would only devolve the problem to slow-moving national legislative bodies.
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