May 19, 2020: Agenda Item 3 at World Health Assembly, taking place virtually over May 18-19, 2020, firmly endorses the role of the World Health Organisation, calls for maximum cooperation to develop treatments and vaccines for the new corona virus, and sets up two investigation processes into the COVID-19 pandemic.
World Trade Organisation
May 13, 2020: The headlines suggest that China’s threat to impose punitive tariffs on imports of barley from Australia, valued at A$1.3 billion, and banning of Australian beef over labelling issues are all about Prime Minister Morrison’s call for an investigation of China’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 12, 2020: Patents and other intellectual property rights could really slow down efforts to treat, contain and eradicate the new coronavirus, as was seen in the case of the A/H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, argues Ellen ’t Hoen, a specialist lawyer at Medicines Law & Policy, The Netherlands.
April 30, 2020: Australia’s Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has issued a directive about the new COVID-19 tracing app to reassure users that their privacy will be protected, and their data will not be abused.
The government claims that the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) Determination 2020, Section 7 states that the data must be stored in Australia.
April 22, 2020: Deborah Gleeson and David Legge argue in The Conversation that patents and related intellectual property rights can present formidable barriers to procuring medicines, vaccines, diagnostic tests and medical devices.
They can cost lives, particularly during a public health emergency. the Australian government can do three things to tackle these barriers.
Media Release April 20, 2020: “AFTINET is among 293 organizations, including global and national union federations, development advocates, women’s groups, consumer and environmental groups from more than 150 countries that have endorsed a letter to government members of the WTO. The letter urges members of the WTO to stop all trade negotiations during the COVID-19 outbreak and refocus on ensuring access to medical supplies and saving lives,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
April 17, 2020: Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick today called on the federal government to give greater weighting to the criteria of Economic Benefit to Australia in existing Commonwealth Procurement Rules so that the benefits of local employment can be fully valued and used to improve opportunities for local firms.