World Trade Organisation
August 27, 2020: Initial commitments by university-based vaccine developers and the World Health Organisation to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all manufacturers without paying high monopoly prices have been overwhelmed by the pharmaceutical industry’s absolute commitment to intellectual property rights, according to a report in Fortune Magazine.
August 14, 2020: A short but growing list of countries are now signing pre-order contracts with pharmaceutical manufacturers for possible COVID-19 vaccines, which could leave behind most of the world’s population in 2021.
Vaccines and WTO trade rules (TRIPS)
July 20, 2020: The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on July 16 that EU data agencies must suspend data transfers to any country where the EU standards for data privacy cannot be met. It ruled that one particular arrangement, the US Privacy Shield, failed to meet the standards, and this has a direct impact on Facebook.
July 16, 2020: A new paper written by Deborah James of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research and published by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation argues that giant tech corporations are trying to use trade rules to collect more data, exercise more control over people’s lives and over their workers, and amass ever more profit.
July 15, 2020: In an overwhelming vote on July 10, 2020, the European Parliament supported a World Health Organization initiative to create the Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), which would collect patent rights, regulatory test data, and other information that could be shared for developing drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to combat Covid-19 and ensure they are accessible to all..
July 9, 2020: US pharmaceutical giant Gilead has filed five patent applications for a 20-year monopoly on the manufacture and commercialisation of the drug remdesivir in Argentina. Remdesivir is the first drug approved globally to treat people infected with COVID-19. If the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) rejects the patent, it would be a significant step toward Argentina being able to manufacture remdesivir locally at a reduced price.
June 22, 2020: New Zealand with Costa Rica, Fiji, Iceland and Norway launched a new initiative - the Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability (ACCTS) – on September 25, 2019, on the fringe of the United Nations General Assembly Leaders Meeting in New York.