WTO urges to start negotiations on vaccine patents “as soon as possible”


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The general director of the World Trade Organization (OMC), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has called for the start of patent negotiations of vaccines against the coronavirus “as soon as possible”, after welcoming “with great satisfaction” the announcement of the US President, Joe Biden, in this regard.

Through a statement, he indicated that he had read “with interest” the statement issued on Wednesday by the United States trade representative, Katherine Kai, regarding the willingness of the North American country to negotiate with the proponents of the temporary exemption of the Agreement. on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

He has also pointed out that we must act “urgently” in the face of the pandemic “Because the world is watching and people are dying”, so it has been “pleased” that the proponents “are preparing a review of their proposal.”

Thus, he has urged them “to put it on the table as soon as possible so that the negotiations based on the text can begin.” “Only if we sit down together will we find a pragmatic way forward – acceptable to all members – that improve developing countries’ access to vaccines while protecting and sustaining research and innovation so vital to the production of these life-saving vaccines, ”concluded Okonjo-Iweala.

Rejection of pharmaceutical companies

Some of the pharmaceutical companies that currently develop vaccines against Covid-19 have already come out against the patent exemption proposal.

One of them Pfizer, whose executive director, Albert Bourla, has branded the initiative as something that is “very wrong”, in an interview with ‘The Wall Street Journal’. For his part, the medical director of BioNTech -Pfizer partner-, Özlem Türeci, has assured CNN that the suspension of patents “It will not increase the number of doses that we will have available in the next 12 months”.

As to Modern, which produces another of the biologics on the market, reported in October that it would not enforce its patents for vaccines against the coronavirus, and its executive president, Stephane Bancel, has specified that they are not concerned about the matter.

“They will have to run a clinical trial, get the data, get the product approved and scale manufacturing. This does not happen in 6, 12 or 18 months “, so countries would continue to buy vaccines, detailed Bancel, collects” The Daily Mail. “

On the other hand, defending the Biden Administration’s decision, Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained that “None of us are going to be totally sure until everyone is.In other words, that all over the world we manage to vaccinate as many people as possible ”.

Blinken has once again insisted that the vaccination process must be accelerated, therefore, “we are studying everything we can do to make available the leftover vaccines that we have,” he specified in an interview with MSNBC.

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