December 1, 2021: The global federation of nurses and carers unions, Global Nurses United (GNU), has appealed to the United Nations to conduct a mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to investigate the role of member states in blocking access to COVID19 vaccines for low-income countries.
January 19, 2022: A new report from Oxfam International has detailed the growing global economic inequality caused by the COVID19 pandemic. The report, Inequality Kills, highlights how World Trade Organisation (WTO) intellectual property rules have created a “vaccine apartheid” between wealthy nations and low-income countries, “a stain on the history of our species”.
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.
January 13, 2022: As Big Pharma continues to block efforts to lift intellectual property monopolies on COVID19 vaccines, a team of scientists in Texas have announced in the Scientific American plans to deliver a ‘COVID vaccine for all’.
12 January 2022: A group of institutional investors representing $3.5 trillion in assets under management have called on pharmaceutical companies to link their executives' pay to global vaccine equity.
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.
January 10, 2022: Following ratification by the Australian and other governments, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) came into force on January 1, 2022. Negotiations began in 2012 between sixteen countries, but India withdrew in 2019. Six ASEAN and five non-ASEAN governments have ratified. They are Australia, New Zealand,, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines have not yet ratified the RCEP.
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.
December 17, 2021: After 18 months of secretive negotiations, Trade Ministers from Australia and the UK today signed the Australia-UK FTA and released the text of the agreement. Fair trade advocates are demanding an independent assessment o f costs and benefits before it is ratified, as recommended by the parliamentary committee that reviews trade agreements.
December 16, 2021: Nobel Laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, has called on the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to support a proposal at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to lift intellectual property patents on COVID19 vaccines.