US backs waiving intellectual property rules on vaccines – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-05-05 18:11:06 –

The Biden administration is throwing support behind efforts to abandon the intellectual property protection of the COVID-19 vaccine to expedite the end of the pandemic.

Washington (AP) —Wednesday’s Biden administration called for greater sharing of the technology behind the COVID-19 vaccine to expedite the end of the pandemic. More to get the dose to the poor.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is in a position of government as the World Trade Organization talks about the possibility of a temporary waiver of protection that will allow more manufacturers to produce life-saving vaccines. Was announced.

“Although the administration strongly believes in intellectual property protection, it supports the waiver of those protections against the COVID-19 vaccine to end this pandemic,” Tai said in a statement.

She warned that it would take time to reach the global “consensus” needed to waive protection under WTO regulations, and U.S. officials soon affected the global supply of COVID-19 shots. He said he wouldn’t.

“This is a global health crisis, and the unusual situation of the COVID-19 pandemic requires extraordinary action,” Tai said. “The purpose of the administration is to deliver as many safe and effective vaccines as possible to as many people as possible.”

The announcement in Thailand came hours after WTO Executive Secretary Ngozi Okonjoi Wara spoke to the Conference of Ambassadors of developing and developed countries arguing on this issue, but to the treatment of COVID-19. I agree with the need for wider access.

The WTO General Council addressed the issue of temporary exemption from intellectual property protection for COVID-19 vaccines and other tools, first proposed by South Africa and India in October. This idea has gained support among the progressive members of the West.

More than 100 countries have endorsed the proposal, and a group of 110 parliamentarians (all Democrats in Biden) sent a letter last month asking him to support the exemption.

Opponents, especially those in the industry, say that exemption is not a panacea. They argue that the production of coronavirus vaccines is complex and cannot be increased by mitigating intellectual property. They also say that removing protection could have a negative impact on future innovation.

“In the midst of a deadly pandemic, the Biden administration has taken an unprecedented step to undermine its global response to the pandemic and jeopardize its safety,” said the president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Stephen Uble, Chief Executive Officer, said.

“This decision will create confusion between public and private partners, further weaken the already tense supply chain and promote the spread of counterfeit vaccines,” he said.

It remains unclear how some European countries, which have an influential pharmaceutical industry and previously shared US reservations for exemptions, will respond.

WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said the industry group’s Intellectual Property Panel will again propose an exemption at a “provisional” meeting later this month before a formal meeting from June 8-9. He said he was expected to pick it up. This means that the final deal can be weeks ahead at the most.

He pointed out a change in tone after months of controversy during the WTO negotiations on Wednesday.

“I think the discussion was much more constructive and practical. It was more emotional and less pointing than ever,” Rockwell said, citing the surge in incidents in places like India.

The author of the proposal is revising it in the hope that it will be more palatable.

In a statement posted on the WTO’s website, Okonjo-Iweala said, “I am not only quick to act to put the revised text on the table, but also to initiate and carry out text-based negotiations. It is our responsibility. “

“I’m confident that if you can sit in front of the actual text, you’ll find a practical way that’s acceptable to all sides,” she said.

Co-sponsors of the idea were traversing between different diplomatic missions to make their claims, according to Geneva trade officials who were not allowed to speak publicly on the issue. Officials said the impasse continued and the other side remained far away.

Part of a long-standing debate on intellectual property protection, this debate seeks to lift patents, copyrights, and protection of industrial design and sensitive information that will help expand vaccine production and deployment in the event of supply shortages. I’m focusing. The purpose is to suspend the rules for several years, long enough to defeat the pandemic.

The problem is exacerbated by the surge in incidents in India, the second most populous country in the world and a major producer of vaccines.

Proponents, including WHO Executive Director Tedros Adhanom Gebreyes, said that such exemptions were part of the WTO Toolbox, killing 3.2 million people and even during an infected once-in-a-century pandemic. Also argue that there is no good time to use them. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 437 million people and a devastated economy.


Keeten reported from Geneva.

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