As part of a global network of concerned civil society organizations, EIPR joined the Third World Network in in its call for the World Trade Organization to strongly support the adoption of the waiver proposal submitted by India and South African against certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID19.
As the world is still dealing with public health, social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, global calls have been consensual for international solidarity in the fast development, manufacture and supply of effective prevention, diagnosis, containment and treatment of this viral infection. Access to these technologies need to be ensured to everyone and to detach from monopolistic intellectual property controls that govern the pharmaceutical industry.
Although some companies have pledged to work on enabling access to these technologies on a not for profit basis, yet, they mostly maintain unilateral control over the production, pricing and distribution of these technologies and therefore, have full capacity to determine the course of the pandemic.
Based on this, heads of states pledged the international community to treat COVID-19 medical products as global public health goods. Yet, to this day, no global policy solutions were adopted to ensure this access especially for developing countries.
When COVID-19 was declared to be a pandemic, there was overwhelming consensus that to curb the spread of COVID-19, there was an urgent need for international collaboration to speed up product development, scale up manufacturing, expand the supply of effective medical technologies and ensure everyone, everywhere is protected. There were even calls from several Heads of State for COVID-19 medical products to be treated as global public goods.
Seven months into the pandemic, there is no meaningful global policy solution to ensure access. Instead, there is an inequality of access to critical technologies that are needed to address the pandemic. Many countries, especially developing and least developed countries will be faced with difficulties in accessing these technologies while wealthy nations representing only 13 percent of the global population have locked up at least half of the world’s potential vaccine supply.
In addition, the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) launched by WHO (to voluntarily share knowledge, IP and data), has been rejected by the pharmaceutical industry*.