The TRIPS Waiver Negotiations at the World Trade Organization (October 2020- June 2022)
A reportage from Geneva Health Files
Verlag: Geneva Health Files
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For more than two years developing countries have fought against the inequities in the access to medical products, to address the pandemic COVID-19. As many as 100 countries, led by South Africa and India, sought to challenge the existing rules that protect intellectual property, to boost manufacturing capacities for medical products during COVID-19.
This they did at the WTO in Geneva, by seeking to temporarily suspend certain provisions of the Agreement om Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) - legal rules that govern intellectual property matters.
It is a battle these countries lost in June 2022, after first bringing this bold proposal to the WTO in October 2020 that directly sought to challenge the monopolies of big pharmaceutical companies on medical products. Many developed countries are home to the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
What was finally agreed upon is a narrow set of clarifications of existing rules applicable to the production of vaccines, in sharp contrast to the paradigmatic shift that the proponents of the waiver proposal had originally sought.
After an estimated 15 million deaths associated with COVID-19, when billions of people globally continue to remain unvaccinated because of the lack of timely access to medical products, the fight is now moving on to ensure that the access to medicines and tests, goes beyond vaccines.
The first edition of this book is a compilation of 50 stories published in Geneva Health Files - an investigative newsletter on global health - that tracked these negotiations over the last two years.
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