Covid-19 vaccines: an international appeal to lift patents


More than 170 former heads of state and government and Nobel laureates signed an open letter to Joe Biden asking him to support a World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver of intellectual property rules for vaccines against Covid-19, in order to ensure their rapid production across the world.

Covid-19 vaccines: towards a know-how sharing mechanism under the aegis of the WHO?

Despite all the efforts made by pharmaceutical companies, guaranteeing access to vaccines against Covid-19 everywhere on the planet and in a short period of time unfortunately remains impossible. Convinced that exceptional solutions represent a possible path in the exceptional circumstances that we know, 170 former heads of state and Nobel laureates signed a letter asking Joe Biden to speak out in favor of a waiver of the property rules. intellectual for these vaccines.

This involves pronouncing, through the World Trade Organization (WTO), a temporary suspension of patents on vaccine technologies related to Covid-19. Instead, a mechanism to share the science and technology of these vaccines would be put in place through the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Technology Access Cluster (C-Tap). .

Without sufficient vaccine coverage, developed countries risk losing $ 2.3 trillion in GDP in 2021

For Oxfam, one of the organizations behind the call, the gains to the global economy that will result from high immunization coverage of the population outweigh the gains that the pharmaceutical industry will achieve from maintaining its health. intellectual property rights over these vaccines. ” Rich countries, including France and the European Union, defend the interests of the pharmaceutical industry to the detriment of other companies and their economies at large. They condemn everyone, including their own citizens, to suffer the consequences. They shoot each other in the foot, that doesn’t make sense. […] The US, UK, Germany, France, Japan and Italy face losses of $ 2.3 trillion in GDP unless they stop defending the interests of a handful of big pharmaceutical companies who want to keep the intellectual property on vaccines, when this status quo is losing everyone. It’s incomprehensible », Said Sandra Lhote-Fernandes, spokesperson for Oxfam France.

These inclinations to establish an exemption from intellectual property are shared by many French citizens. According to a YouGov poll commissioned by the People’s Vaccine Alliance (which brings together a coalition of organizations such as Oxfam, UNAIDS and Amnesty International) conducted in February 2021, 70% of French people think that governments should force laboratories to share this knowledge publicly.