Experts say that “deeply flawed” document on COVID-19 patents will not achieve global vaccine equity
24 March, 2022: Experts in public health and international trade have labelled a leaked document on COVID19 vaccine patents as “deeply flawed”, and have said that will not achieve global vaccine equity.
Writing in The Conversation, Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, writes that “on closer scrutiny, Big Pharma and their parent states have won again… There are too many limitations to make any significant difference and it is a far cry from the original proposal from India and South Africa that would have effectively addressed the barriers.”
Why? Professor Kelsey explains: “The text applies only to patents on vaccines, and only for COVID-19, which means a similarly fraught process would be required for future pandemics. WTO members will decide in six months whether to extend it to medicines, diagnostics and therapeutics, as South Africa and India had proposed. Realistically, that won’t happen.”
Writing in Croakey Health Media, public health expert Dr Deborah Gleeson warns that “unless other countries insist on improvements, elements of the original proposal that are critical for improving access to life-saving products will be lost.”
“The Australian Government must intervene in global negotiations to ensure that global health is not compromised by efforts to water down a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests.”