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Patents on anti-Covid vaccines: no consensus, new consultations

2021-10-15T20:27:33.092Z

No consensus could be found on the thorny issue of the temporary lifting of patents protecting anti-Covid vaccines, only seven ...



No consensus could be found on the thorny issue of the temporary lifting of patents protecting anti-Covid vaccines, only seven weeks before a WTO ministerial meeting, the organization said in a press release on Friday 15th. October.

Read alsoCovid-19: Pfizer recommended for vaccine booster

The TRIPS Council (Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights Affecting Trade) met Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the issue deemed crucial to increase production and combat vaccine inequality by some, and a risk for the economic model of the pharmaceutical industry for others. As the World Trade Organization works by consensus, there can be no agreement until all 164 member states agree.

Some members have also underlined the risk of failure "

if the delegations do not make a serious compromise

" adding that, conversely, a success on this issue at the ministerial "

would not only send a powerful message of solidarity. global, but would also prove that the WTO has the capacity to respond to a major global crisis

”.

Norwegian Ambassador to the WTO Dagfinn Sorli admitted that the TRIPS Council he chairs "

is not yet in a position to agree on a concrete and positive conclusion at this stage

".

He announced "

that he will continue to consult members on how to move forward towards a consensus

" before the ministerial which is being held from November 30 to December 3 in Geneva.

Further consultations are scheduled for October 26.

The General Council, the WTO's decision-making body between two ministers, is due to meet on November 22 and 23 and examine the file.

Calls from India and South Africa

For the past year, the WTO has faced calls from India and South Africa for the temporary removal of intellectual property protections, in order, according to them, to stimulate production in developing countries and address glaring inequalities in access to vaccines.

WHO has supported the initiative, as have many other countries and NGOs.

Read alsoCovid-19: the end of free tests, an ultimatum for the unvaccinated

This idea is met with fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical giants, in the name of their financial effort in research, and from their host countries, for whom patents do not represent the major obstacle to the increase in vaccine production. , and who fear that such a measure will end up harming the capacity for innovation. The European Union favors using compulsory licenses that allow countries to produce drugs or vaccines in the event of a health emergency by negotiating rights with the companies that hold the patents.

A process considered too long by its critics when the pandemic has killed at least 4.9 million people and the vaccination rate is on average 30 times higher in rich countries than in poor countries, the former grabbing the available doses.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2021-10-15

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