India, South Africa urge the WTO to ease the COVID-19 IP rules.
In order to accelerate efforts to avoid, manage or contain the pandemic COVID-19 and to ensure that the developing countries weren’t left behind, South Africa & India have asked the WTO to reveal certain provisions of international conventions that govern intellectual property rights.
The country argues that even without a speedy waiver of certain existing protections for intellectual property rights in some countries. Particularly developed ones that have also been “disproportionately affected” — will find it difficult to quickly access vaccines and medicines in a combined submission to a Council of Trade related aspects of intellectual property dated Friday October 2, 2020.
Activist have indicated that rich countries will first inoculate the COVID-19 vaccine in a sprint. Even before clinical testing, certain countries such as the UK, France, Germany as well as the U.S. requested tens of millions of doses of possible vaccines.
Poorer nations, whose economies were broken by a pandemic, are unable to put such bets. With over 1 million COVID-19 deaths confirmed around the world, urgency has increased.
“It was important for other WTO governments to support this, so we should ensure that even the vaccines, medicines and other medical instruments required for COVID 19 are increased by countries & their manufacturers within long licence negotiations,” Leena Menghaney, who leads the South Asian international aid camps Doctors Beyond Borders.
The countries claim “serious worry” about the availability of new drugs and COVID-19 vaccines to meet global demand promptly and cost-effectively.
The letter notes that there could not be ample current flexibility in the rules and that it might lead to legal problems for the developing countries. Countries with limited production capacity are especially vulnerable and it could “complicate and elongate” the process of imports and exports of medicines.
“There’s an urgent international demand for global cooperation, as well as a global share of technology & know-how to allow fast responses to handle COVID-19 in real time,” says the letter. The Council demands that the large-level decision-making body of the WTO, the General Council, be addressed as soon as possible.
The Indian administration and the South African Ministry’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comments immediately. In South Africa, access to care, particularly affordable HIV medications, has been expressed in the past.
During COVID-19 epidemic, 54 African countries have worked together to gain equal access to every successful vaccine. A June communiqué from an African Union declared that worldwide governments should “transfer all barriers” to the rapid and equal delivery of any vaccine.
The Communique explicitly referred to the 2001 Doha Declaration of Public Health from World Trade Organization Representatives in the sense of which the Government will allow the use of such a patented invention without any of the permission of the patent proprietor.
The Africans declared the pressing need for nations to “take full advantage of legal action” after a conference to scan for COVID-19 vaccines. The ‘barrier’ regulations on intellectual property have over the past put on affordable vaccines throughout developing countries which are meant to prevent monopolies from getting in the way of accessibility.
Drug firms have said that to fund their costly studies, they must protect their property rights. Meanwhile, a COVID-19 access infrastructure pool, which can freely exchange IP & data, has been sponsored by the World Health Organisation.