India and South Africa have submitted a new plan World Trade Organization (WTO) suspends patents for vaccines, drugs and health products needed to fight corona virus infection for three years. The document has already been issued to member states and will be discussed at the first meeting on May 31 before the General Council of the Organization, scheduled for June 8 and 9.
This text is a new version of the initial proposal, which was issued last October and refers to points that were then open. If it is said that the patent exemption should be extended until the group of about 8,000 million people on Earth reaches immunity, it is now decided to measure with annual meetings for three years and analyze if an assumption is needed. .
The new proposal is not only more accurate, it has more support and goes into more detail in the search for partners. October was only from India and South Africa, and then it received positive votes from a hundred countries (poor), but it met with rejection in front of all the rich – the United States, the European Union, Japan, Switzerland. .-.
Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia … The administration of US President Joe Biden wants to support it in the WTO.
Such as large creatures World Health Organization (WHO) – which opened its annual assembly this Monday- and the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, and dozens of so-called civil society organizations, are working to make the release of patents a real possibility. .
A brilliant move
“This project seems to me to be a brilliant move,” said Gillem Lopez-Casasnovas, director of the Center for Research in Economics and Health at the University of Pompeii Fabro (UPF). “Advertisers are talking about a three-year period and include vaccines, but all the processes and technologies needed for their development. This shows that they are not thinking in the short term, but that new variants are needed to replace existing vaccines and that the entire production chain needs more flexibility. This is an in-depth proposal,” he said. Says further.
Analysts agree that the patent game will be played in the Middle Ages and it does not make sense to say that its suspension will end this year with a shortage of vaccines. Negotiations within the WTO will only last several months, after which countries will have to make their decisions domestically. Following that, the process of knowledge transfer for new manufacturers must take place, according to contracts signed voluntarily by pharmaceutical companies to date, which may take more than half a year to show experience.
The 12,000 to 15,000 million dose limit required to vaccinate its total population worldwide this year is non-existent. “The problem is so large that it will not be solved in a few months,” agrees Vanessa Lopez, director of Salute Battle Terecho, which works for global access to drugs.
“Patents are still a barrier and the first step to a solution is to remove them. In the short term, world production can increase somewhat because there is unused potential. But to really change the scenario is to share knowledge without limitations. Will be distributed, ”Lopez added.
In the first point, the most cited examples are examples of Canadian biology; Insepta from Bangladesh; Deva of Israel (the world’s largest general manufacturer), and Danish biotech Bavarian Nordic, specializing in the development and production of vaccines. Four hours, revealed by digital media Politics, They have been awarded to Big Pharma to increase global production. Everyone has received silence for an answer.
According to Duke University, there are many and very authoritative voices in support of further improving the current system of voluntary licenses already signed 300 worldwide. Achieve the production the world needs.
This was imposed by the EU betting and at the G-20 meeting last Friday, which called for the Rome Declaration to “anchor the solution to the crisis surrounding voluntary license agreements, voluntary transfer technology and knowledge.”Pool Patents ”, the latter proposal is not much mentioned.
To Vicente Orton, professor of economics at Pompeii Fabre University (UPF), it was “not really a patent, but a very promising solution to the manufacturing problem.” “There are many things that can be done to improve patents, but they are not the problem right now. It can be achieved in a year, ”he promises.
Rahul Gonzalez, head of the Doctorless Borders (MSF) Corporate Relations, describes the results of the G-20 meeting as “disappointing” instead. “You have to see the practical outcome of what came out of the meeting. There are interesting developments like the proposal to add new agents to the product. But if the system is based on voluntary licenses, nothing will be universal. Everything will be in the hands of companies, conditions and limits …”, he explains.
For those who support the termination of patents, it is somewhat cynical to say that the vaccine shortage will not be resolved in a few months when this option was not allowed to work seven months ago. “What we have seen is that the current system has failed. And we cannot allow it to happen again in 2022 or 2023. The way to do that is to start working now,” said Vanessa Lopez.
For those who think this is not the solution, the path goes through very concrete and efficient measures. For example, they criticize the United States for now supporting patent exemptions or donating 100 million doses to Kovacs – gestures that they consider to be more than practical – and maintaining restrictions on the export of vaccines from their territory.
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