India leads transfer to decrease vaccine costs

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 22

The Indian approach to lowering Covid vaccine prices has found support from Pakistan as well as all other neighbours, but China has sought time to study it further.

A meeting of a WTO panel on Friday witnessed Pakistan, Kenya, Mozambique and Eswatini joining the India-South Africa proposal for suspending patents and other intellectual property (IP) restrictions on Covid vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for the duration of the pandemic, until global herd immunity is achieved.

China has welcomed the proposal but India’s global security partners such as the US and EU as well as their pharmaceutical corporations have not shown any willingness to take a different approach during the pandemic to ensure broad access to needed products, said sources. India is engaged in a consensus-building exercise in the run-up to a decision towards the middle of next month. Faced with opposition from the US, EU and Brazil, the proposal was put off when it was first tabled at WTO, with support from the WHO, on October 2.

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