Civil society urges WTO to reach an urgent decision to waive monopolies on vaccines as online negotiations resume
December 8, 2021: One hundred and twenty-eight civil society groups from around the world last week sent an open letter to the Director General of the World Trade Organisation asking the WTO to resume urgent negotiations and decide to waive monopolies on COVID1-19 vaccines and related products.
The organisations include AFTINET, MSF, (Doctors without Borders) Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and many national union, public health and other community organisations.
The letter noted that “the WTO’s inertia has come back to haunt with the emergence of Omicron variant leading once again to the postponement of the 12th Ministerial Conference, disruption in travel, lockdowns and the likelihood of further deaths and devastated economies.”
The letter urged the Director-General “to set aside other matters and to prioritize engagement on the TRIPS Waiver proposal among WTO Members in order to urgently reach a meaningful outcome that will effectively remove all intellectual property barriers to scale up production and diversify supply of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other COVID-19 medical products”.
The WTO Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights ( TRIPs) Council has now set online meetings for December 10 and 16.
A similar letter signed by 128 orgnanisation has been sent to the Chair of the TRIPs Council.