EU Parliamentarians back India-South Africa proposal for IPR waiver on Covid vaccine patents

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
NEW DELHI Published: Feb 04, 2021, 10:48 PM(IST)

European Union Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The letter seen by WION has asked European Union to "support for India and South Africa's proposal at the WTO" with the aim to "guarantee widespread and equitable access to vaccines on a global scale"

European Union Parliamentarians have strongly backed India and South Africa's joint proposal at the World Trade Organization for a waiver on intellectual property rights for COVID vaccine patents in a letter to EU leadership. The letter by 14 EU MEPs or members of the European Parliamentarians has called for a moratorium on the suspension of covid-19 vaccine patents.

The two page letter on Covid vaccine highlighted that, "South Africa and India sent a joint proposal to the World Trade Organization requesting an exemption from patents and other intellectual property rights concerning drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, personal protective equipment, and other medical technologies throughout the pandemic and this proposal is still pending."

The letter seen by WION has asked European Union to "support for India and South Africa's proposal at the WTO" with the aim to "guarantee widespread and equitable access to vaccines on a global scale"

WTO had met in December to take up the proposal for waiver of Intellectual property over Covid vaccines but failed to arrive at the decision over stiff opposition from United States, European Union and others. The proposal for waiver on IP rights for covid vaccines means affordable access to everyone even as countries try to vaccinate their population.

The letter by the EU MEP has been sent to President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen, EU high representative for foreign affairs Josep Borrell, European Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis and European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Honorable Stella Kyriakides.

The MEPs who have sent the letter are--Andrea Cozzolino, Maria Arena, Eva Kaili, Alex Agius Saliba, Bogusław Liberadzki, Tiemo Woelken, Milan Brglez, Patrizia Toia, Irene Tinagli, Pierfrancesco Majorino, Pina Picierno, Giuliano Pisapia, Massimiliano Smeriglio, Franco Roberti.

The development comes amid the ongoing tiff between EU and AstraZeneca over vaccine supplies. Media reports are calling the India-South African proposal as a "nuclear option" and it is already leading a divide in the already divided group. In fact, the Italian Parliament had backed the proposal as far as December. A patent pause amid the Covid pandemic looks a humane action but for many license holders would see it as a loss, and would call for a pushback against it.

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