Forty-seven Members of Club de Madrid signed two weeks ago a letter asking the President of the United States, Joe Biden to consider supporting a patent waiver of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now Club de Madrid is joining an appeal by nearly 400 Members of the European Parliament and National Parliamentarians that are asking the European Commission and European Union Member States to support the waiver, a measure that would increase the global production of vaccines and ease their distribution worldwide.
South Africa and India submitted a proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily waive certain intellectual property (IP) rights under the Agreement of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) until vaccination is in finales stages in virtually every corner of the world. However, a handful of countries, including the United States and the EU and its Member States, oppose the TRIPS waiver.
The global economy could lose trillions of dollars if the vaccination rate doesn’t rapidly increase worldwide, warn the signatories of the pledge to the EU institutions. “It is in everyone’s interest to work collaboratively to ensure that widespread vaccination is in place globally as quickly as possible and remove all obstacles. EU leaders should urgently reconsider their position and support the TRIPS waiver proposal to protect peoples’ rights to life, health, and adequate standard of living”, they add.
While COVAX is making efforts to distribute vaccines globally, its effectiveness relies on commitments made by states and the level of distribution is insufficient to vaccinate all corners of the world any time soon. Waiving certain intellectual property rights from COVID-19 vaccines would scale-up production and the technology transfer needed to respond to this challenge.
“An urgent temporary waiver of intellectual property rules at the World Trade Organization would help us ramp up global supply of vaccines together with a global multi-year burden sharing plan to finance vaccines for the poorest countries”, said Member of Club de Madrid and former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.