Backers of IP waiver for COVID-19 drugs make fresh push at WTO

By Emma Farge GENEVA (Reuters) - South Africa and India argued in favour of a waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 drugs and vaccines at a closed-door meeting of the World Trade Organization on Tuesday but opponents showed little sign of budging, trade sources said. Proponents of the temporary waiver as the pandemic continues to rage say that IP rules are hindering the urgent scale-up of COVID-19 vaccine production amid growing criticism of the inequitable distribution of shots. The waiver's critics include the European Union, the United States and Switzerland, all home to major pharmaceutical companies.

Reuters January 20, 2021 01:10:54 IST
Backers of IP waiver for COVID-19 drugs make fresh push at WTO

COVID-19 drugs make fresh push at WTO" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/01-2021/20/2021-01-19T184710Z_1_LYNXMPEH0I1F3_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-WTO.jpg" alt="Backers of IP waiver for COVID19 drugs make fresh push at WTO" width="300" height="225" />

By Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) - South Africa and India argued in favour of a waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 drugs and vaccines at a closed-door meeting of the World Trade Organization on Tuesday but opponents showed little sign of budging, trade sources said.

Proponents of the temporary waiver as the pandemic continues to rage say that IP rules are hindering the urgent scale-up of COVID-19 vaccine production amid growing criticism of the inequitable distribution of shots.

The waiver's critics include the European Union, the United States and Switzerland, all home to major pharmaceutical companies. Some have argued that waiving IP rights does not address the manufacturing and distribution capacity problems that are currently impeding drug supplies.

Two trade sources familiar with the discussions said that there was no indication of a shift in established positions at the meeting in Geneva of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

In the run-up to the talks, proponents published a 30-page response to some questions raised by opposing countries.

"One of the key reasons underlying insufficient supply and impacting procurement is the way major vaccine developers are managing their IP and technologies," the document said.

"If we allow ramping up of manufacturing, and diversifying of supply options there will be more timely and equitable distribution."

Shailly Gupta from French medical charity MSF (Doctors Without Borders) said that opposing countries seemed to be deliberately seeking to buy time.

"It is important to note that sponsors of this proposal are being repeatedly asked a similar set of questions in an attempt to stall the process," she said.

If the council agrees on a position, it will submit a proposal to the WTO's General Council, whose 164 members typically make decisions by consensus only.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Sonya Hepinstall)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply

also read

Thyssenkrupp ends talks with UK's Liberty on steel unit sale
Business

Thyssenkrupp ends talks with UK's Liberty on steel unit sale

By Christoph Steitz, Tom Käckenhoff and Arno Schuetze FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp ended talks to sell its steel division to Britain's Liberty Steel due to differences over value, the latest setback in efforts to consolidate the European sector. Liberty Steel, led by commodities tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, last month submitted a firmed-up non-binding bid for Thyssenkrupp's steel unit, Europe's second biggest in terms of sales, which sources said included commitments to protect jobs and sites.

Factbox: Stonks in Washington: Deciphering Reddit's WallStreetBets lingo
Business

Factbox: Stonks in Washington: Deciphering Reddit's WallStreetBets lingo

(Reuters) - Reddit trading lingo may filter in to Washington on Thursday when top hedge fund managers, the head of Robinhood and Roaring Kitty himself are set to give testimony before U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers.

Brent gives up gains after rising above $65 on Texas freeze
Business

Brent gives up gains after rising above $65 on Texas freeze

By Stephanie Kelly NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices steadied on Thursday, with Brent edging back from a 13-month high, after a sharp drop in U.S. crude inventories supported prices, while buying spurred by a cold snap in the largest U.S. energy-producing state petered out.