Governments must support landmark proposal to waive COVID-19 patents

GENEVA – In front of World Trade Organization (WTO) foretells think about a landmark request to waive certain ip (IP) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – submit by India and Nigeria in October – Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) calls on all governments to aid farmville-altering step. The IP waiver allows all countries to select to neither grant nor enforce patents along with other IP associated with COVID-19 drugs, vaccines, diagnostics along with other technologies throughout the pandemic, until global herd immunity is achieved.

This move harkens back twenty years towards the Aids/AIDS epidemic, when affordable generic Aids drugs, produced in countries where patents didn’t block production, started saving countless people’s lives.

“Not a global pandemic can stop pharmaceutical corporations from following their business-as-usual approach, so countries want to use every tool open to make certain that COVID-19 medical goods are accessible and cost-effective for everybody who needs them,” stated Dr Sidney Wong, Executive Co-Director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “All COVID-19 health tools and technologies ought to be true global public goods, free of the barriers that patents along with other ip impose.”

“We’re contacting all governments to urgently throw their support behind this ground-breaking proposal that puts human lives over corporate profits only at that critical moment for global health,” stated Dr Wong.

Using more than 1.3 million lives lost to COVID-19, governments can’t afford down the sink anymore time awaiting voluntary moves through the pharmaceutical industry.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, pharmaceutical corporations have maintained their standard practice of rigid control of ip legal rights, while going after secretive and monopolistic commercial deals that exclude many middle- and occasional-earnings countries from benefitting. For instance, Gilead joined into restrictive bilateral licensing for among the only drugs to possess proven potential help to treat COVID-19, remdesivir, excluding up to 50 % from the world’s population from benefitting from cost-lowering generic competition.

Furthermore, several new and repurposed medicines and monoclonal antibodies being trialled as promising treating COVID-19, happen to be patented in lots of middle-earnings countries for example South america, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, China and Malaysia. Except for one company, no COVID-19 vaccine developers have dedicated to treating IP any differently compared to established order.

Although some companies took steps through licensing and technology transfer deals to make use of existing global manufacturing capacity to mitigate anticipated supply shortages of potentially effective vaccines, it has been the exception, and also the licensing deals frequently include obvious limitations.

In the past, steps happen to be come to overcome monopolies which have permitted pharmaceutical corporations to help keep prices artificially high. In 2001, in the height from the Aids/AIDS epidemic, the ‘Doha Declaration on Journeys and Public Health’ affirmed governments’ legal rights to consider all necessary measures to get rid of patents along with other IP barriers, putting governments within the driver’s seat to allow them to prioritise public health over corporate interests. This current waiver request towards the WTO is really a similar key to accelerate the reaction to COVID-19.