- Activists around the world are demanding equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments – for everyone, everywhere.
- Members of the World Trade Organization had the opportunity to support this – but they instead prioritised pharma profits.
Image provided by alliance member G-CAP.
What happened at the WTO?
- In October 2020, South Africa and India submitted a proposal (commonly called the ‘TRIPS waiver’ proposal) at the World Trade Organisation to waive some of its Intellectual Property (IP) rules to enable many more manufacturers to produce vaccines, testing kits and medicines as well as other medical technologies, to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.
- More than 100 countries, millions of people and leading economists, activists, Nobel Laureates, celebrities, and Heads of State backed this proposal, but WTO members failed to act for more than 20 months as the pandemic raged, killing millions. In the lead up to the 2022 Ministerial Conference, activists issued impassioned pleas for members to prioritise human lives over pharma profits.
- Sadly, on 17 June 2022, the WTO announced that member states agreed to a decision that has been slammed by commentators and health groups as a ‘weak deal’ and a ‘slap in the face’ for poor countries.
“This is absolutely not the broad intellectual property waiver the world desperately needs to ensure access to vaccines and treatments for everyone, everywhere. The EU, UK, US, and Switzerland blocked that text. This so-called compromise largely reiterates developing countries’ existing rights to override patents in certain circumstances. And it tries to restrict even that limited right to countries which do not already have capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines. Put simply, it is a technocratic fudge aimed at saving reputations, not lives.”
– Max Lawson, Co-Chair of the People’s Vaccine Alliance
Activists gathered before blocking country consulates, parliaments and in key spaces across many countries to call on the WTO members to deliver a real TRIPS waiver.
We sent letters to consulates and embassies of countries that were blocking a temporary waiver of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments, and are troubled by reports of European bullying of nations in the Global South who continue calling for a waiver.
The world has the technology to save lives and end the COVID pandemic, but only if it is shared. The world needs COVID-19 vaccine, test and treatment equity.
MESSAGE WORLD LEADERS
World leaders have the power right now to remove Big Pharma’s monopoly hold on COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments and allow countries to produce the life-saving medicines their populations desperately need.
Take to Twitter to call on key players to take urgent action to stand up to the Pharma industry and #EndCOVIDMonopolies.
The Alliance held an online press conference with Nobel Economics Prize laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, South African lawyer and health activist Fatima Hassan, and frontline nurse and Liberian health workers’ union leader George Williams.
Amnesty International published recommendations to WTO member states ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference: On the need for a comprehensive TRIPS waiver for Covid-19 health products and technologies
Oxfam EU calculated that nearly 30,000 people have died from COVID-19 each day since the WTO talks on vaccine intellectual property began.
Activists have delivered letters in:
- Zambia, to the The British High Commissioner, the German Embassy and to the EU Delegation to Zambia
- Cambodia, to the embassies of EU, UK, Germany and Switzerland in Cambodia demanding comprehensive TRIPS Waiver
download a poster
Additionally supported by: Dr Richard Hill, Hill & Associates and independent freelancers Jalpa Patel and Hitesh H Bhatt