Oxfam reaction to WTO agreement on text-based process on waiving IP rule for COVID-19 vaccines

June 9, 2021

World Trade Organization members (who met today for a council on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) have just agreed that they will engage in a text-based process on waiving Intellectual Property rules on COVID vaccines, test and treatments. This means a deal, which would see a temporarily suspension of Intellectual Property, is increasingly likely. However key government like the UK and Germany are continuing to block.

In response, Siham Rayale, Oxfam Canada’s women’s rights policy specialist said:

“This move to text-based negotiations is good news, because it means all member states acknowledge that pharmaceutical monopolies are blocking access to life saving vaccines for millions of people and that this needs to be addressed.

“We are happy to see Canada support the move to text-based negotiations for the TRIPS waiver proposal. The ongoing meetings indicate that Canada and other G7 countries cannot live in isolation from the worst impacts of this pandemic. As infection rates are rising in many African countries, we are running against the clock to ensure global herd immunity greater than 60 per cent. It is imperative that Canada push other G7 countries to actively participate in text-based negotiations so a waiver is passed before more lives are lost.

“It is shameful that in the midst of a pandemic it has taken eight long painful months and 2.7 million deaths from COVID-19 for a handful of rich country government blockers to finally agree to enter formal text based negotiations on this life saving proposal. Despite rising infections and the lack of vaccine stock in Africa and other regions of the world, the UK and Germany continue to be major blockers of the waiver. On the eve of the G7 summit, the UK and Germany must urgently reconsider their opposition to the waiver and let the world know they support people over profit hungry pharmaceutical corporations.”

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Notes to editors:
  • The TRIPS waiver proposal was first presented to the WTO on 2nd October 2020. Since then to June 8th 2021 there have been a recorded 2.67 million deaths from COVID-19 worldwide.
  • WTO delegates agreed an urgent timetable to move negotiations forward ahead of the next General Council meeting in July.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Paula Baker
Media Relations
Oxfam Canada
(613) 240-3047

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