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WTO reaches agreement on vaccines at MC12

The World Trade Organization (WTO) reached an agreement on vaccines at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), an Indian negotiator reported to Business Standard.

On the TRIPS (trade-related intellectual property rights) exemption, an agreement could only be reached on vaccines. The official said that negotiations for diagnoses and therapies would begin in six months, as demanded by developed countries.

In 2021, the Administration of President Joe Biden expressed support for the concept of an exemption from certain WTO intellectual property rights obligations for Covid-19 vaccines, but India and some other countries are seeking broader exemptions for vaccine products and technologies. related health.

This means that India’s demand to include diagnostics and therapies in the agreement did not find favor with developed countries.

In October 2020, India, South Africa and 63 co-sponsors submitted the TRIPS waiver proposal to help low- and middle-income nations gain access to Covid-19 vaccines and medicines.

“India has accepted the proposal for no export restrictions in the World Food Programme. But domestic food safety concerns will take precedence. There is no work program on agriculture, which could be seen as a good outcome for India as our farm subsidy will not face any more scrutiny,” the official said.

Vaccines

The delay in production and the unequal access and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines have led some countries to require compulsory licenses to manufacture generic versions or to waive certain intellectual property rights rules related to vaccines and other products or treatments.

In May 2022, following talks facilitated by WTO Director-General Okonjo-Iweala between the United States, the European Union, India and South Africa to find a way forward on this issue, a proposal on a waiver was issued. patent “TRIPS” for vaccines, but the debate on the final terms is ongoing and contentious.

At the Ministerial Summit, discussions reached an impasse in the TRIPS Council, the body responsible for monitoring the operation of the agreement. The draft agreement fell short of the original proposal and includes only vaccines.

India had asked for a TRIPS exemption for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to fight Covid-19 and future pandemics. India had argued that it was too late if only vaccines were included because the pandemic had run its initial course.

 

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