European Countries Urged to Stop Blocking Negotiations on Pandemic Monopoly Waiver

    Wahyu Dwi Anggoro - 07 June 2021 16:39 WIB
    European Countries Urged to Stop Blocking Negotiations on Pandemic Monopoly Waiver
    Illustration (Photo:Medcom.id)



    Geneva: Ahead of the next World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting on the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) waiver, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) denounced the European Union (EU) and some European countries for employing delay tactics instead of agreeing to start formal negotiations on this critical waiver.

    One month ago, the US signaled its support for the waiver in a groundbreaking move. 

     



    On June 4, the EU published a counter-proposal focusing on compulsory licensing' which brings nothing significantly new to the table.

    "In the last few months, we all helplessly witnessed how healthcare workers in countries like India, Peru and Brazil struggled to provide care for people with covid-19," said Dr Maria Guevara, MSF's International Medical Secretary, in a press release on Monday. 

    "Their healthcare systems were on the verge of collapsing and it was very challenging to provide any supportive therapies to critically ill covid-19 patients in hospitals, as the oxygen concentrators, ventilators and medicines remain in short supply," Guevara stated.

    If adopted, the waiver would provide countries with a critical policy space to address intellectual property (IP) barriers to increase collaboration in research and development, manufacturing, scale-up, and supply of covid-19 medicines, vaccines and other health technologies. 

    Waiving monopolies would help level the playing field in this pandemic and ensure access to critically important covid-19 medical tools for everyone who needs them, regardless of where they live.

    "The EU's continued insistence on the use of compulsory licensing in its counter-proposal as an excuse for opposing the original TRIPS waiver is disingenuous and endangers public health globally," said Dimitri Eynikel,EU Policy Advisor for MSF's Access Campaign. 

    "By focusing just on compulsory licensing, the EU is promoting a safeguard that can only bypass patents but not all IP barriers, thereby making it less effective than the proposed waiver. In this raging pandemic, countries need to have all options at their disposal to encourage the manufacturing of covid-19 medical tools across the world. The EU and other nations opposing this waiver need to stop blocking other countries' efforts to protect their populations in a public health emergency," he explained.

    (WAH)

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