We need a patent exemption for vaccines. Why is the EU blocking it?


The text proposed by the European Commission raises a number of concerns in terms of data protection, data security and possible discrimination in its use and implementation.

  • A prototype “passport” for vaccines. Linking rights and health is a slippery slope (Photo: European Commission)

These are key issues for the left: linking rights and health is a slippery slope.

Some Europeans may be able to travel freely within the EU this summer, but if we are to tackle the problem at its roots, we need to lift the patents on Covid-19 vaccines.

Huge subsidies notwithstanding – over $ 12 billion [€9.96bn] – offered to private companies, we will always be faced with a serious shortage of vaccines.

Globally, access to Covid-19 vaccines remains extremely low: today, less than three percent of the world’s population has been vaccinated and 90 percent of the population in the poorest countries of the world will go without vaccine this year.

Plus, many Europeans won’t be able to get this season’s most wanted jab.

The current architecture of intellectual property rights leaves all the power to extend production to patent holders.

The monopoly granted to Big Pharma has enabled them to resist any kind of international attempt to share scientific data and technology, making it impossible for other manufacturers around the world to go into production.

It is up to the companies to decide whether to enter into licensing or manufacturing agreements with other companies. This probably explains why we currently only use 43% of global production capacity.

The only way to increase vaccine production, as soon as possible, is to lift the patents and transfer the technology. Big Pharma’s arguments for maintaining a monopoly on intellectual property rights over vaccines have already collapsed. So what’s the way to go from here?

The committee must support the demand of South Africa and India, as well as more than 100 other countries, to temporarily renounce TRIPS, the treaty governing intellectual property rights at the level of the World Trade Organization , for Covid-19 vaccines.

Sharing knowledge and technology will ensure that more vaccines are produced as soon as possible, for everyone, everywhere.

This is not an idealistic dream, it is an urgent necessity, both pragmatic and practical, supported by over 175 former heads of state and Nobel laureates.

For half a morning he was also approved by HR / VP Josep Borrell, but then his the tweet has been deleted.

More than 150,000 European citizens are demanding actions. We are now counting on the support of our colleagues in the European Parliament.

At the initiative of the Left, Parliament has already called on the committee and member states to overcome obstacles and restrictions arising from patents and intellectual property rights in order to ensure widespread production of vaccines and their timely distribution. to everyone, everywhere.

This is why the Left is calling for a plenary debate on the TRIPS waiver and has presented proposals in reaction to the Commission’s digital green certificate regulation. We need to make sure the Covid-19 vaccine becomes a global common good.

If the EU is to shake off the long-held criticism of being “too slow, too disunited, too disconnected from the people” and of doing “too little, too late”, now is the time to act .

Brussels can get the international community out of the crisis of the century by placing the right to health in its place: at the center of its decisions and its policy.


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