EU submits vaccine program to WTO in resistance to patent waiver

Brussels — The European Union submitted to the World Trade Organization on Friday a plan to believe that the supply of COVID-19 vaccine could be expanded more effectively than a US-backed intellectual property (IP) waiver.

India, South Africa, and dozens of developing countries waive their intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccines and other therapies to address “amazing inequities” in access to the world’s public goods. Is requesting.

The surprising move by the United States to support patent exemptions in May put pressure on the rest of the opposition, including the EU and Switzerland, home of many pharmaceutical companies.

The European Commission, which oversees EU trade policies in 27 countries, said it submitted an alternative on Friday, emphasizing export restrictions and existing WTO rules that would allow countries to license producers. ..

WTO members discussed the amended waiver proposal on Monday. This is the 11th meeting on this topic since the first proposal in October, but there are no breakthroughs yet. Another meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The EU plan is said to be much quicker to implement and consists of three components.

Export restrictions should be kept to a minimum. The EU has emphasized that it has exported more than 200 million vaccines, which is not comparable to other countries such as the United States.

The EU encourages vaccine manufacturers and developers to enter into license and manufacturing agreements with manufacturers in developing countries to supply vulnerable countries, as Pfizer / BioNtec, Johnson & Johnson and Modana did. I promise to increase it.

Third, the EU plan emphasizes existing WTO regulations, where the state can license manufacturers without the consent of the patent owner, but still receive compensation. Such a license should help make the vaccine affordable.