In South Africa, activists outside the US and EU embassies to ask for the suspension of patents.
The world is watching you, governments do not delay yet ”.Activists
A few days after new discussions at theWorld Trade Organization (WTO), and at its upcoming ministerial conference at the end of November, together with activists and civil society organizations, we mobilized this morning outside the US, Belgian and Dutch embassies in Tshwane, South Africa, to ask to speed up negotiations on the suspension of patents and other intellectual property rights on drugs, diagnostic tests and vaccines useful for the response to Covid-19 in derogation from the TRIPS agreements.
With this mobilization, activists and civil society are also calling on the United States to play a proactive role in reaching agreement, after the support announced by the government in early May.
We met under the embassies of Belgium and the Netherlands to deliver a clear message to European countries not to put the interests of pharmaceutical companies before people’s lives and to put an end to the filibuster on the exemption from patents and other intellectual property rights on drugs. , vaccines, diagnostics, and other medical technologies throughout the duration of the pandemic. Although Italy, France, Greece and Spain have already decided to support this derogation, other European governments, which have strong ties with pharmaceutical companies, are choosing to put the interests of shareholders above the protection of human life. We ask the European countries that support this proposal to persuade those who are still against it so that the EU presents itself together in the face of this important decision ”. Candice sehoma South Africa Advocacy Officer for MSF Access to Medicines Campaign
The exemption on TRIPS agreements could help remove legal barriers to facilitate manufacturing in low- and middle-income countries and to increase the production and supply of medical instruments such as tests and treatments.
Presented a year ago by India and South Africa, the waiver proposal is currently supported by 64 co-sponsoring governments and supported overall by over 100 countries. Despite dozens of statements of support from some governments, the proposal was blocked by a small number of opposing countries, including European Union countries (mainly Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Holland and Sweden) as well as Norway. , Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The United States has made the bold and important decision to support the suspension of patents on Covid-19 vaccines, but it is not making a global effort to make it a reality. This is a historic opportunity and the United States must play a leading role in giving substance to this positioning by having many tools to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, unlike low and middle-income countries, where people continue to suffer and die without vaccines, diagnostic tests or treatments. There is no time to waste: the United States must keep their promise and ensure that the derogation from the TRIPS agreements is adopted ”. April Benedict MSF General Manager in the USA
Globally, we continue to assist the inequity of access to treatments and medical tools against Covid-19 infection. High-income countries stockpile treatments and vaccines instead of facilitating fair distribution, which would help end this pandemic.
The United States recently booked 1.7 million doses of molnupiravir, the promising anti-Covid-19 drug that, if approved, could drastically reduce hospitalizations and deaths. This is just one of the examples that explains why the derogation from the TRIPS agreements is urgent and necessary. While the US government has funded molnupiravir development through Emory University, drug companies Ridgeback and Merck have obtained the license and rights to it.
Instead of granting licenses to all competent manufacturers in different countries of the world, a voluntary license signed in April 2021 only includes Indian companies that produce generic drugs and effectively prevents other countries, such as Brazil, from being able to produce and import themselves. the active ingredient and generic versions.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, MSF has repeatedly stressed how limiting it is for governments to rely exclusively on the voluntary actions of pharmaceutical companies to guarantee access to life-saving products for their citizens and the example of molnupiravir is particularly indicative. A voluntary license issued by Merck that deliberately prevents many middle-income countries from producing and distributing the drug independently is unacceptable. It is evident that the adoption of legal instruments such as the derogation from the TRIPS agreements, constitutes a fundamental measure to prevent many countries from continuing to depend on the pharmaceutical companies that hold the monopolies on patents and who decide who can produce or buy and at what price. We appeal to governments that continue to obstruct the waiver proposal: deciding which side to take, now that we are writing the history of this pandemic, is an act of responsibility, as well as a moral and ethical question of fairness. ” Felipe Carvalho Coordinator of the MSF drug access campaign in Brazil
In addition to supporting the waiver of the TRIPS agreements, we ask governments to use all legal and political tools in their possession to increase the production and supply of medical tools against Covid infection – 19.
To countries with sufficient doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, we ask to immediately redistribute excess doses to Covax or to regional bodies, to Germany and the United States of press for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna pharmaceutical companies to share technology and know-how on messenger mRNA vaccines with manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries.
We also ask all governments to support the Vaccine Technology Transfer Hub established by WHO.