I am very pleased to sign this joint statement by Members of European Parliament and Members of National Parliament in support of a temporary waiver of TRISPS obligations concerning COVID-19 vaccines. It is supported by MSF, Health Action International, Human Right Watch and many other international and national NGOs.:
“New strains of COVID-19 prove that we will not defeat the virus until we defeat it everywhere. We are in the midst of one of the gravest public health emergencies in the world in recent history. Over 2.6 million lives have already been lost worldwide. The global economy stands to lose trillions of dollars if the vaccination rate doesn’t rapidly increase worldwide. National healthcare systems are often at or beyond capacity, entire economies are on their knees, and millions of livelihoods are at stake.
One year after the adoption of the first lockdown measures in Europe, it is clear that we must urgently and exponentially increase manufacturing and availability of vaccines, tests, medicines and protective materials, and that requires wider sharing of proprietary technology and know-how, data and resources, especially with low- and middle-income countries.
We stand with the Director-General of the World Health Organization, over 100 national governments, hundreds of civil society organizations, and trade unions, and join them in urging the European Commission and EU member states to discuss at the highest levels and support the temporary waiver of certain obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The waiver proposed by South Africa and India would facilitate the sharing of all intellectual property and know-how. It will lift IP monopolies, remove legal uncertainty, and provide the freedom to operate to enable collaboration to increase and speed up the availability, accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments globally.
Our societies have already paid an enormous human and economic toll to the pandemic, and it only grows by the day. Large amounts of public money are behind innovation in technologies for COVID-19 health products. It is in everyone’s interest to work collaboratively to ensure that widespread vaccination is in place globally as quickly as possible and remove all obstacles. EU leaders should urgently reconsider their position and support the TRIPS waiver proposal to protect peoples’ rights to life, health, and adequate standard of living.”