Trade rules at the World Trade Organization (WTO) which put “intellectual property” for Big Pharma ahead of public health are getting in the way of efforts to increase worldwide production of COVID-19 vaccines, tests kits and medications.
Over 100 countries have called for a temporary waiver of parts of the WTO’s “Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property” (TRIPS) agreement so that COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies can be made in as many places as possible as quickly as possible.
Ramping up production of vaccines and treatments is needed to end the COVID pandemic and save millions of lives. Doing so would also get the economy back on track, and could help prevent a viral mutation that prolongs the pandemic for everyone.
Unfortunately, the United States is leading a small handful of countries in blocking the TRIPS waiver. This position is unconscionable and must be reversed.
The life-saving TRIPS waiver is supported by the Director General of the World Health Organization and by domestic public health and human rights advocates like Doctors Without Borders, Partners In Health, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Health GAP, Doctors for America and the American Medical Student Association.
The waiver is also supported by front-line unions like National Nurses United, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association of Letter Carriers, UNITE HERE, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Teamsters.
And it’s supported by groups throughout California including the California Trade Justice Coalition, California Nurses Association, USW District 12, Global Exchange, and others throughout the U.S. and around the world.