REACTION TO WTO: Astounding hypocrisy for rich countries to block COVID-19 IP decision-making process, campaigners say
Astounding hypocrisy for rich countries to block COVID-19 IP decision-making process
Release date: 31 Jan 2024
Responding to reports that WTO member states plan to conclude discussions on intellectual property rules for COVID-19 tests and treatments, Mohga Kamal-Yanni, policy co-lead for the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said:
“For four years, WTO member states have failed to take any meaningful action to respond to COVID-19, and now it looks like the WTO has given up altogether. Rich countries have pursued a strategy of delaying and derailing South Africa and India’s proposal to temporarily waive intellectual property rules for COVID-19-related medical products. They decided to protect pharmaceutical profiteering from the pandemic over the lives of people in developing countries.
“The hypocrisy of the US and EU is astounding. They adopt and propose measures to remove intellectual property barriers to enable access to these products for their own citizens. Yet, in both the WTO TRIPS Council and WHO Pandemic Accord negotiations, they are stopping lower-income countries from doing the same thing.
“We are concerned that rich countries like the UK, EU and the US may use the same delay and derail tactics in the ongoing Pandemic Accord negotiations at the WHO to stop proposals that ensure global access to medical technologies in future health crises. It’s reckless and could have disastrous consequences in a future pandemic.“
Notes for editors
- This is a reaction to reports in Geneva Health Files and Inside Trade that WTO member states will conclude discussions on IP for COVID-19 tests and treatments.
- The US Government and European Commission have each proposed measures to overcome IP barriers when they undermine equitable access to medicines within their borders, yet are opposing similar measures in the Pandemic Accord negotiations: