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The EU and patents: 'The US must explain the proposal'

2021-05-09T07:50:55.055Z

'The priority is to increase production capacity immediately'. Wto, work against the unequal distribution of vaccines (ANSA)



 "The next move on vaccine patents is up to the United States, to give substance to what so far are only declarations of principle, because there is no negotiation on a three-line statement. We need to know the details."

Sources from the European Commission state this.



To increase in the short term and on a global scale the ability to produce anti-Covid vaccines, "we need more transparency in trade" of serums and their ingredients or components. Thus a source from the European Commission. "Countries that have the raw materials and components to produce vaccines should renounce export restrictions", says the source, also recalling the importance "of making research results accessible and pushing pharmaceutical companies to make voluntary agreements for the technology transfer, as in Europe between Sanofi and Pfizer and in India between AstraZeneca and Serum Institute ".



In October 2020, India and South Africa proposed to the WTO Intellectual Property Council to temporarily suspend the application of certain provisions of the Trips agreement, which protects intellectual property, to facilitate wider access to the technologies necessary for the production of vaccines and medicines. "The two issues are different - Commission sources explain - suspending patents does not mean transfer of technologies and know-how which are necessary to increase production and which are companies that for years have been researching and starting to produce vaccines". Not to mention that the least developed countries are not obliged to apply the Trips and are also exempted from the WTO agreements on medicines ". At the moment at the Trips Council,"there are three positions - continues the source - that of South Africa and India, which goes beyond patents, in the sense that it also provides for the suspension of trade secrets and copyrights, that of the United States of which the details are not known and that of plans to use the flexibility tools already available in the Trips agreement ", such as licenses. Which is the EU position, provided that there was" evidence that the problem is patents ". The American turnaround was a surprise" also given that recently - says the source - the US had presented a declaration precisely in support of the use of existing instruments. "Given the extent of the suspension requested by South Africa and India, it remains suspicious that the two emerging economies are trying to reopen all the legislation Wto on intellectual property."It would be a legitimate political debate - explains the source - but now we must seek pragmatic and immediate solutions to increase the production of vaccines, reopening Trips would mean starting a negotiation whose end cannot be foreseen".

Source: ansa

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