The United States will continue to push for the abolition of intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, even though they and other groups of seven rich countries are sharply expanding vaccine donations to poorer countries.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said Thursday that the Biden administration was working on several fronts to end the pandemic.
These efforts included donations of 80 million vaccine doses by the end of June, additional donations of 500 million doses announced Thursday by President Joe Biden, and negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure a limited waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights to vaccines, she said.
“And this may take time given the complexity of the problems involved, but our goal remains to get vaccines to as many people as quickly as possible,” Tai said, adding that the pandemic would only be over before it was over. contained everywhere.
The city’s plan to donate 500 million more doses – a key element of the G7’s 1 billion donation plan – raised some questions about whether Washington could drop its support for an IP exemption in the WTO.
The dropout is opposed to Germany, Britain and some other American allies as well as the American business community.
But officials from the Biden administration say the dropout rate will help increase global production of coronavirus vaccines.
Biden said Thursday that the crisis, like the previous AIDS epidemic, requires a global response, and that failure to halt the pandemic will limit global growth and increase instability in some countries.
“We will keep manufacturing doses, donate doses, get ‘jabs’ – as they say here in the UK – in arms until the world has beaten this virus,” he said.
Sean Flynn, an intellectual property expert at American University in Washington, said he expects the WTO will reach a waiver agreement during a ministerial meeting later this year.
He welcomed the US “ideological flexibility” in pursuing both a waiver and taking steps to increase vaccine donations, saying new virus mutations underscored the need for vaccine production by more than the few players in rich countries.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday that two dozen low-income countries had vaccinated only 1% of their population. “America is better off in a richer, vaccinated world than a poorer, non-vaccinated one,” she said.
The pharmaceutical industry claims that companies investing their own funds to develop vaccines and relinquishing their IP rights will undermine such work in the future.
Robert Grant, senior director of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center, said there was “no evidence” that waiver of intellectual property rights would increase vaccine production.
“The concern is that countries around the world will just start saying, ‘Well, we will not implement or enforce IP laws,'” he said, adding that the result would be a chaotic patchwork of laws that would “undermine the rationale” for investment in these places for years. ”
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.