Global Coalition Joins PRA in Opposing a TRIPS Waiver for COVID-19 Vaccines
WASHINGTON, DC –– 3/8/2022 –– On Monday the Property Rights Alliance (PRA), along with 29 partner organizations from 15 countries around the globe, sent a letter to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and TRIPS Council Chair Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli strongly opposing the revocation of intellectual property rights for the producers of vaccines and other COVID-19-related products under a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver.
The Property Rights Alliance (PRA) is an international research and advocacy organization committed to promoting and protecting innovation, intellectual and physical property rights, as well as publishing the International Property Rights Index. Strong legal and political environments that recognize and enforce property rights preserve the tangible and intangible assets of inventors while incentivizing innovation.
“It has been more than a year since the first TRIPS waiver proposal,” write the signers of the letter, “yet proponents have failed to demonstrate that there is any sizable latent production capacity for COVID vaccines and related supplies that is somehow held back due to intellectual property rights.”
The letter notes that as of March 2022, 10.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered across 184 countries, and a total of 24 billion doses are expected to have been produced by June 2022, more than enough for every person on the planet to get vaccinated.
“It’s clear that the next great challenge of eliminating the threat caused by COVID will be distributing vaccines around the world before they reach their shelf life,” the letter continues. “Yet, the World Trade Organization warns several countries continue to impose tariffs, export restrictions, redundant resting requirements, or other trade barriers on inputs for COVID vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostic tools.”
The letter concludes that a TRIPS waiver will not eliminate the remaining barriers to vaccine distribution and would only empower criminal syndicates and counterfeiters while countries scramble to pass legislation and modernize their domestic manufacturing. Instead, the signers propose, WTO member states should focus on eliminating the numerous trade barriers that continue to prevent the world from ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full letter can be found here.
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