Coronavirus – Health and Governance Issues

U.S. to support intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- US in support of IP waiver for Covid-19 vaccine

US in support of TRIPS waiver

  • The United States announced its support to an initiative at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to waive Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) protection for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The initiative was first floated by India and South Africa last October.
  • Over a 100 countries have supported the proposal, according to the Associated Press.

Opposition to the move

  • Among the arguments proffered to retain IP protection are that biotech jobs will be transferred from the U.S. to foreign countries and that waiving IP still not does overcome bottlenecks like manufacturing capacity.
  • Twelve Republican Members of Congress wrote to Mr. Biden on Tuesday urging him to consider other means to increase vaccine access that did not involve weaking IP protections.
  • Weakening protections would hamper American competitiveness and innovation, they said.

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