Monday, May 03, 2021

No One Is Safe Until Everyone Is Safe...,

commondreams |  The U.S. is facing sustained calls to end its opposition of a proposal to temporarily lift intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines and related technology as soaring coronavirus cases ravage India and new reporting spotlights a debate within the Biden administration over whether to support the patent suspension effort to help tackle the global pandemic or prioritize Big Pharma's interests.

At issue, as the Washington Post reported Friday, is a proposal India and South Africa submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) last October to suspend Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules on Covid-19 vaccines and treatments to boost manufacturing capacity. It's now cosponsored by 60 nations and backed by over 100 countries as well as hundreds of U.S. and international civil society organizations, former world world leaders and Nobel laureates, and some U.S. lawmakers.

In addition to the U.S., other wealthy nations including the U.K. and Canada are blocking the proposal—which needs consensus to pass.

The WTO's TRIPS panel met Friday to discuss the proposal, and it's now being revised by its cosponsors. 

Asked Friday whether the U.S. would continue its opposition, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration has not yet confirmed its stance and said the White House's "overall objective is to provide as much supply to the global community and do that in a cost-effective manner."