WTO again fails to agree on Covid vaccine patent waive17 October 2021
The World Trade Organization said on Friday that its member nations had again failed to agree to suspend intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines, with some countries doubting a deal could be reached unless certain delegations make "real compromises".
South Africa and India have called for intellectual property rights to be temporarily lifted for coronavirus vaccines during the pandemic in order to boost production and address the gaping inequality in access between rich and poor nations.
However the idea has met with fierce opposition from pharmaceutical giants and their host countries, which insist patents are not the main roadblocks to scaling up production and warn the move could hamper innovation.
Pressure is mounting for an accord with just weeks left before the WTO's 12th ministerial conference, which runs from November 30 to December 3 in Geneva.
The council of the WTO agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) met on Wednesday and Thursday to try to make progresson the issue. The WTO works by consensus-all 164 member states must agree to any deal.