World Trade Organisation

AFTINET in The Guardian: Trade rules have thwarted global efforts to fight Covid – the WTO must waive monopolies on vaccines, treatments and tests

24 February: In an opinion article in The Guardian, AFTINET Convenor Dr Patricia Ranald has explained how the global trade system is failing to put public health before profit, and what the World Trade Organisation (WTO) must do to address global inequity in access to pandemic medicines

“Access to vaccines, tests and treatments must not be delayed” – AFTINET joins global civil society open letter to WTO

23 February, 2022: Ahead of key meetings at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), AFTINET has joined more than 200 civil society organisations around the world in an open letter calling on the WTO to ensure that any waiver on patent monopolies goes beyond COVID19 vaccines to include treatments and tests.             

Media Release: WTO must fix unjust global access to vaccines, treatments, and tests at meetings this week

February 22, 2022 Media Release: The World Trade Organisations (WTO) this week must seize the opportunity to address the global inequity in COVID19 vaccines, tests and treatments, say vaccine equity advocates. While in Australia debate has focused on the availability of free rapid antigen tests (RATs), globally there is inequitable global access to tests, vaccines and treatments that are critical to protecting people from COVID-19.

WTO Chief calls for decision on waiving monopolies on COVID vaccines by end February

February 7, 2022: WTO meetings held in December and January have failed to agree to waive monopoles on COVID vaccines  and treatments to increase global production and address the low vaccination rates of 10 per cent or less in low income countries.

This failure of the WTO process was recognised by the WTO Director-General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has convened informal meetings between supporters and opponents to make progress. These meeting are ongoing,

Vaccine equity advocates call for patent-free access to COVID19 therapeutic baricitinib

18 January, 2022: Following a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of the drug baricitinib as a therapeutic medicine for COVID19, public health advocates at Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have called on the World Trade Organisation to lift intellectual property monopolies on COVID19 treatments and vaccines.

WTO plans more meetings on waiving vaccine monopolies as Omicron rages and civil society condemns delay

January 11, 2022: The World Trade Organisation General Council met virtually on January 10. This was a response to India’s recent proposal to hold an urgent virtual Ministerial Conference on the WTO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a proposed temporary waiver of WTO intellectual property rules on vaccine monopolies, which would enable production of affordable vaccines in low-income countries.

Discussions on proposal to lift vaccine monopolies intensify at WTO, as experts reveal 100 companies could produce COVID19 vaccines in developing countries

December 21, 2021: After the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) was postponed in November, discussions on the proposal to lift vaccine patent monopolies (known as the ‘TRIPS waiver’) have intensified, as WTO Ministers from South Africa, India, the United States and the European Union met online to discuss a way forward and find common ground.

Civil society urges WTO to reach an urgent decision to waive monopolies on vaccines as online negotiations resume

December 8, 2021: One hundred and twenty-eight civil society groups from around the world last week sent an open letter to the Director General of the World Trade Organisation asking the WTO to resume urgent negotiations and decide to waive monopolies on COVID1-19 vaccines and related products.

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