WTO/TRIPS IP Waiver
WTO Members welcome Quad document as basis for text-based negotiations on pandemic IP response
10 May 2022
At a General Council meeting on 10 May, WTO members agreed that the outcome document emerging from the informal process conducted with the Quad (European Union, India, South Africa and the United States) opens the prospect for text-based negotiations on an intellectual property response to COVID-19. Members welcomed the proposal as a positive development and thanked Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Deputy Director-General Anabel González, as well as the four members of the Quad, for their efforts in trying to find a way forward on this long-standing issue…
…China announced at the meeting that it will not avail itself of the flexibilities under the Quad waiver text provided that language is used opening benefits of the waiver to all developing members while encouraging those with capacity to export vaccines to opt out. China and several other members rejected a second option in the text that would restrict waiver eligibility to those developing countries that exported more than 10 per cent of the world’s vaccine doses in 2021.
Several delegations took the floor to praise China for showing leadership in this process. The DG also thanked China for its announcement.
“China has made a bold move today and we should recognize it,” she said. “I think it really opens up the spirit of constructiveness which I hope will be forthcoming from our members to get a workable proposal out of this.”
Ambassador Gberie urged members to be pragmatic in working for an outcome on the waiver text by the time ministers gather in Geneva for the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) on 12-15 June…
IFPMA statement on Quad’s Outcome Document on TRIPS
10 May 2022
…IFPMA and its members from the global biopharmaceutical industry reaffirm their position that weakening the intellectual property (IP) framework is counterproductive, and would undermine industry’s ability to partner with academia, research institutes, and other private companies to address the current and future pandemics.
Far from posing barriers, it is clear that IP-based incentives were central to the innovation and to the hundreds of collaborations that enabled the development, manufacturing, scale-up and distribution of novel COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. While IP rights have never contributed to COVID-19 vaccine supply constraints, the “Quad proposal” is especially misguided now that it is widely acknowledged that there are no longer any such constraints.
The IP TRIPS Waiver is not only the wrong solution, but it is also an outdated proposal that has been overtaken by events, since vaccine supplies are vastly outstripping demand. The current proposals should be shelved and the focus should be directed to getting vaccines into arms for those who need them most….