U.S. SUPPORT OF TRIPS WAIVER UNDERMINES EFFORT TO FIGHT COVID-19
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 6, 2021
WASHINGTON: Property Rights Alliance urgently calls on the Biden-Harris Administration to reverse its support of the vaccine waiver at the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council led by South Africa and India. PRA stresses now more than ever that the intellectual property rights of COVID-19 vaccines merit rigorous defense to ensure the full value and quality of biotechnological advancements are protected. Executive director Lorenzo Montanari stated, “it is simple: no IPs, no vaccines, no lives saved.”
- The intellectual property rights of innovators are not a barrier to the rapid acceleration of COVID-19 production the world needs. Removing the IP rights would make it more difficult for innovators to share the technology and know-how needed for manufacturers to produce genuine and effective vaccines.
- The vaccine waiver jeopardizes inventors’ current and forthcoming biotechnological advancements.
- The vaccine waiver undermines the extraordinarily complex manufacturing process that is critical to ensure vaccines are safe and effective. Removing IP prevents the rights owners from controlling the efficacy and quality of vaccines that reach peoples’ arms.
- The vaccine waiver is a distraction that penalizes the vibrant biotechnology sectors instead of addressing the root of the problem: manufacturing bottlenecks.
- Without firm IP rights, authorities will have difficulty determining genuine products from the sea of counterfeit, substandard, and falsified vaccines the waiver invites. Vaccine hesitancy will likely increase.
- PRA’s World IP Day letter signed by a record 101 think tanks from 47 countries calls on the TRIPS agreement “the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on IP and the most effective instrument for ensuring that governments take steps to protect IP.”
- “The WTO would do much better” PRA IP analyst Philip Thompson says “to discuss removing obstacles to the trade of COVID-19 related items than removing intellectual property rights.”
- There is a world IP crisis: 15 countries enabled by robust property protections are responsible for 85% of COVID-19 therapies in development. Leveling up IP protections will allow more countries to participate in breakthrough innovations.
- Only 10% of the world’s people enjoy the highest protections of property rights and they produce 49% of world GDP.
- IP protection in North America and Europe is 30 percent greater than in the rest of the world. The WTO should call on members to close this gap and participate in the global innovation ecosystem.
- “WTO member governments must ensure adequate and effective IP protections consistent with their multilateral and regional commitments. Measures that restrict patentability, fair market access, require localized manufacturing, technology expropriation, fail to protect regulatory data, or fall short in other ways should be strongly examined and corrected to reflect international commitments.”
PRA’s World IP Day Coalition, urgently calls on the Biden-Harris Administration, as well as the governments of South Africa and India, to embrace intellectual property as a solution rather than a problem. Removing IP undermines the innovation of the biotech sector and the quality of vaccines. This decision will prolong the pandemic.