COVID-19 Vaccine IP Rights Abrogated
The World Trade Organization (WHO) announced today its members successfully concluded the 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, securing multilaterally negotiated outcomes on a series of key trade initiatives.
Confirmed on June 17, 2022, the "Geneva Package" includes a waiver of specific requirements concerning compulsory licensing for COVID-19 vaccines.
To prioritize vaccine access, the Geneva Package's vaccine patent waivers reduce commercial companies' intellectual property (IP) rights for monetizing their COVID-19 vaccines.
This news indicates that lower-income countries will have the legal ability to reproduce the vaccinations themselves, abrogating IP rights.
"The package of agreements you have reached will make a difference in the lives of people worldwide."
"The outcomes demonstrate that the WTO is, in fact, capable of responding to the emergencies of our time," said WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in a press release issued on June 17, 2022.
"They show the world that WTO members can come together, across geopolitical fault lines, to address problems of the global commons and to reinforce and reinvigorate this institution."
United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today released the following statement today.
"Last May (2022), when I announced the Biden Administration's support for a waiver of intellectual property protections for vaccines as part of our comprehensive effort to end the pandemic, many doubted that the WTO could rise to the occasion and reach an outcome."
"But that's exactly what we have done."
As of late June 17, 2022, the commercial vaccine companies have not disclosed the potential impact on their future revenues or profits.
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