The dangers of expanding the TRIPS waiver

Megan Van Etten
Megan Van Etten September 19, 2022

The dangers of expanding the TRIPS waiver.

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World Trade Organization (WTO) members, including the United States, are considering waiving commitments to honor certain intellectual property (IP) rights on COVID-19 treatments, following a harmful and unnecessary decision to do the same for COVID-19 vaccines. This is referred to as the TRIPS waiver.

Any expansion of the TRIPS waiver would:

Biopharmaceutical manufacturers are already sharing their IP and remain committed to providing timely global access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. There is no supply shortage for COVID-19 medicines. In fact, supply exceeds demand for vaccines and treatments.

Global collaboration is fueling medicine production and access. According to Airfinity, an international data provider, 140 voluntary licensing and manufacturing agreements for COVID-19 treatments have been signed since the start of the pandemic, covering more than half the world’s population, to ensure that more than 125 low- and middle-income countries can access needed medical innovation.

The global IP system enabled America’s world-leading biopharmaceutical industry to innovate and produce safe and effective vaccines and treatments in record time.

Policymakers should reject any expansion of the TRIPS waiver and focus on last-mile distribution and administration challenges around the world to make a real impact.

To read more about the harms of TRIPS waiver expansion, click here.

Topics: Patents, Trade, IP Explained, Coronavirus, TRIPS Waiver