India, South Africa approach WTO seeking waiver of rules for COVID-19 drugs
There is a need to ensure the unhindered global sharing of technology and know-how, the countries have said
India and South Africa have urged the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive certain intellectual property rules to make it easier for developing countries to produce or import COVID-19 drugs.
“As new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19 are developed, there are significant concerns, how these will be made available promptly, in sufficient quantities and at affordable price to meet global demand," they said in a letter to the WTO.
The letter dated October 2 which has been posted on the WTO website pointed out that internationally, there was an urgent call for global solidarity, and the unhindered global sharing of technology and know-how. This was needed to ensure that rapid responses for the handling of CPVID-19 could be put in place on a real time basis, it said.
The waivers that India and South Africa have sought relate to intellectual property rights such as patents, industrial designs, copyright and protection of undisclosed information. These should “not create barriers to the timely access to affordable medical products including vaccines and medicines or to scaling up of research, development, manufacturing and supply of medical products essential to combat COVID-19,” the letter said.
The letter requested the Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to urgently approach the General Council to put in place the waiver.
“The waiver should continue until widespread vaccination is in place globally, and the majority of the world’s population has developed immunity,” the letter said.