US steps up efforts for IPR waiver on vaccines

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, May 15

The US has become active on the world stage in supporting the joint India-South Africa proposal for waiver of intellectual property rights (IPR) protections on Covid vaccines.

Besides talking to Indian and South African Trade Ministers Piyush Goel and Ebrahim Patel, respectively, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai has also sought support for the proposal from World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and European Commission (EC) executive vice president (EVP) Valdis Dombrovskis.

In a series of phone calls since Friday, Tai elaborated on the Biden-Harris administration’s support for the waiver of the IPR protection on Covid vaccines and also explained how this effort fits into the administration’s comprehensive effort to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution around the world.

In conversation with the Indian and South African Trade Ministers, Tai also asked them to speed up the submission of the waiver proposal as was also mentioned by WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala last week. The co-sponsors of the proposal have already requested the TRIPS Council chair Dagfinn Sorli to consider holding a meeting open to all members in the second half of May. The proposal can then be placed formally before the TRIPS Council meeting in early June.

The waiver will ensure patent, design and copyrights related issues do not restrict the rapid scaling-up of manufacturing and also do not hinder the equitable and affordable access to vaccines and treatments.

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