June 5, 2023

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Corona virus: India and South Africa prepare new plan to attract more support for patent release of vaccines | Community

India and South Africa will present a new plan World Trade Organization (WTO), with intent Release the patent Vaccines, medications and health products needed to fight corona virus infection. The two countries made the announcement at a meeting of the organization’s intellectual property agreements council last Friday, and further details are now being sought.

The move seeks to bring closer the position of rich countries, including the European Union, with governments that continue to oppose the move, while seeking to add new forces to the growing and unprecedented support gained in recent weeks. Patent waiver.

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Those present at the meeting agreed last October to “continue to evaluate” a plan already put forward by both countries, for which they will now provide a new form with a second speech. The chairman of the council, Norway Dokfin Charlie, showed “moderate confidence in the latest exchanges” of positions, despite differences, according to the World Trade Organization report.

The new plan, to be presented in the second half of the month, will no longer be a proposal of the two regional powers. In recent months, India and South Africa have succeeded in getting 60 governments, including Pakistan, Egypt and Bolivia. And the lowest income in the world– Become a sponsor of patent issues. In all, more than 100 countries supported the first plan put forward by India and South Africa in October at the World Trade Organization.

Pitton’s role

Even among rich countries, some things are starting to move. In the United States, the Joe Biden administration Agreed for the first time It “evaluates” the move, which has the support of 170 world leaders. Former Heads of Government of Spain Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Felipe Gonzalez. The current tenant of Palacio de la Monclo, the Socialist Point Sanchez (PSOE) pointed out last week Need to “open discussion”.

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“Spain is ready to promote the patent debate with our European partners, especially in the field of the World Trade Organization,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Health explained yesterday.

He said the exemption would allow the vaccine to “increase global production” and allow it to be better distributed around the world so that even less developed countries could produce them. Critics are accusing the World Trade Organization (WTO) of plotting a project that they consider “counter-productive.” They suspect this is “possible” and criticize it as a “joint venture” by industry to “risk innovations” and meet the need for vaccines based on contracts between companies (so-called voluntary licenses).

The patent waiver was expected to take a prominent place at the World Trade Organization’s General Assembly in Geneva this Wednesday and Thursday. But with the change in the strategy of its defenders, the in-depth discussion will be predicted until next June, except for last-minute surprises.

For now, the promoters of the exemption are getting their plans in an attempt to “bring the positions closer to the other countries of the organization”. “A revised text will then be discussed and concluded with the intention of” being put into circulation “. [entre los países] This is the month of May ”. To this end, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has asked India and South Africa to “open a meeting to all member states in the second half of May”.

These dates will take place with the World Health Assembly – the World Health Organization (WHO)’s top decision-making body – from May 24 to June 1. The WHO and its Director-General, Tetros Adanom Caprais, are in favor of issuing patents, so the legislature may be a forum to give new impetus to the initiative, its promoters hope.

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The first step

Rogel Gonzalez, President of Institutional Relations Doctors without borders (MSF), although the new proposal is only a first step, considers that “any movement that aims to bring us closer together to temporarily abolish patents is welcome.”

Irene Burnell, a researcher at Salute Borderego, an organization that supports global access to drugs, said: “This new path is very interesting because it seeks to block the entire negotiation process. There are some countries that have pointed out that the initial plan is very comprehensive and the introduction of nuances is necessary. An amended version of the text may interfere with relations with certain countries, which is important to support. “

Gillem Lopez-Casasnovas, director of the Center for Economic and Health Research at the University of Pompeii Fabra, however, did not notice “any significant change” in the final stages. “If so, the dramatic situation in India could help, and it’s a gesture from the rich to the less developed countries. Fiden’s role will be decisive, ”the expert concluded.

However, the differences between all regions are enormous, as all sources agree. The Council’s Advocacy Report states that “countries continue to be divided on the fundamental debate over the impact of safe and secure access to vaccines and other medical products on intellectual property.”

Voluntary licenses

In this sense, confronting countries that promote exemptions are “member states that reaffirm their position in enhancing the potential of voluntary licenses. Vaccine production”, Takes the statement. It is maintained to this day by the European Union and its members.

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“It’s true that we are facing a very remote situation,” admits Irene Bernal of Salute War Terecho, “but there are elements that allow us to more accurately point out the temporary nature of the exemptions and to link such conditions together. The epidemic will end and end. Let’s not forget that there is support, “he added.

According to Rockel Gonzalez, it should not be forgotten that “although all countries support patent exemptions in the World Trade Organization, they may or may not join”. He concludes: “It opens the door for rich countries to continue to respect patents or the restrictions they impose, and for countries with fewer resources to benefit from the exemption.”