European Network against privatization and commercialization of Health and Social protection
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Press release: The European Network calls on the EU to support the proposal in the WTO to abolish intellectual property rights for the production of vaccines against COVID-19

D 1 March 2021    

More than 100 countries already support the proposal by India and South Africa at the WTO to temporarily remove intellectual property rights to effectively combat the coronavirus epidemic and ensure equitable access to vaccines. The European Network calls on European governments and the European Commission to support this proposal.

Today, March 1st 2021, the WTO General Council will decide on the proposal to temporarily lift patents on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and technologies. This decision will be discussed in more detail at the WTO TRIPS Council on 10-11 March. The European Network Against the Privatisation and Commercialisation of Health and Social Protection supports the People’s Health Movement’s call to a group of countries that refuses to support this proposal. These rights, enshrined in the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), allow a few pharmaceutical companies to monopolise the production of vaccines against COVID-19. Ensuring rapid access to vaccines for everyone, everywhere in the world, at an affordable price, is crucial to the effective fight against the virus. The temporary waiver of intellectual property rights will go a long way towards achieving this solidarity, ethical and equitable goal. However, despite global concerns about vaccine supply, the US, the EU, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, Norway and South Korea are challenging this TRIPS waiver.

Intellectual property rights are an immoral barrier in the fight against COVID-19. The European Network therefore calls on European governments and the EU to put a stop to vaccine nationalism and profit-seeking.

Press contact:

European Network against commercialisation and privatisation of health and social protection
Sarah Derdelinckx


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