US Supports Delay On COVID Patent Waiver Extension Decision

  • Developing countries have been pushing for a patent waiver extension for COVID-19, which many developed countries argue could discourage pharma companies from responding rapidly to future global health crises.
  • The deadline for a decision has been December 17, but there has been an unresolved stand-off on the issue at the WTO.
  • The U.S. has backed delaying the decision to waive patent protection for COVID-19 treatments and tests.
  • In June, World Trade Organization members agreed on a partial waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, with consideration of an extension within six months.
  • "Real questions remain on a range of issues, and the additional time, coupled with information from the USITC, will help the world make a more informed decision," U.S. Trade Representative Katharine Tai said in a statement, Reuters reported.
  • "The U.S. has had more than two years to meaningfully engage in WTO negotiations over access to lifesaving tests and treatments. Kicking the issue further into the long grass, just as the negotiating deadline approaches, is pathetic," policy co-leader Mohga Kamal-Yanni said.
  • Last year, G20 supported the "voluntary licensing" of COVID-19 vaccine patents.
  • Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
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