Hope for support of India’s WTO proposal of IP waiver for COVID-19

New Delhi, Feb 25 (PTI):
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday expressed hope that global pharmaceutical industry will show “big heart” and support India’s proposal in the WTO for relaxing certain provisions in a multilateral agreement on intellectual property with a view to containing the pandemic.
In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO (World Trade Organisation) members on the implementation, application and enforcement of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19. The agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS came into effect in January 1995. It is a multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP) rights such as copyright, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets. “I am sure the industry will show big heart across the world and support the TRIPS waiver that India has proposed at the WTO so that the entire world can come out of the COVID-19 pandemic much faster and bring back the ‘V ‘shaped recovery to the entire world,” Goyal said at a FICCI webinar on pharmaceuticals. He said that the developed world is under pressure as a host of WTO members including least developed countries and African nations are supporting this proposal. On one hand, the developed countries “talk about supporting each other and multilateral fight against COVID-19 pandemic, but on the other hand, they are looking at protecting the interests of a few companies,” he rued.

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