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Huge civil society support for global open access to vaccines still blocked at the World Trade Organisation

April 19, 2021: Two hundred and fifty global, regional and national civil society organisations delivered the strongest statement yet in support of the waiver of intellectual property rights during the COVID-19 pandemic to World Trade Organisation Director General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on 13 April.

Pakistan prepares to eliminate ISDS from its Bilateral Investment Treaties

April 8, 2021: Pakistan’s Board of Investment has prepared a strategy to withdraw from all inhibiting clauses in the 53 Bilateral Investment Treaties the country has with 48 countries, including Australia.

The major concerns are provisions related to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). These shrink the policy space for the government to adopt measures in the public interest.

COVAX dissected and found wanting on providing vaccines to low income countries

April 7, 2021: A new analysis of the COVAX initiative to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries uncovers major ethical and governance problems as well as health risks for the target countries. COVAX involves the World Health Organisation, governments, philanthropic initiatives like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and pharmaceutical companies in the purchase of vaccines from the companies to make them available to low-income countries.

Democrats pressure Biden to support WTO rule change for equitable vaccine access as 23 countries demand change for future pandemics

March 31, 2021: The Biden Administration has come under pressure from almost 100 Congressional Democrats to support the suspension of World Trade Organisation rules on intellectual property during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 23 world leaders are now proposing a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response.

More talk, No Action – Australia fails to support WTO changes for access to COVID vaccines

March 23, 2021: Australian government failure to support changes to World Trade Organisation monopoly rules on vaccines is negating its announcements about helping low-income countries to vaccinate their populations against COVID-19, according to Dr Deborah Gleeson’s article in The Conversation.

Big Pharma plans price hikes for COVID-19 vaccines

March 22, 2021: With significant problems emerging in global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the issue of vaccine prices is now emerging as another major problem for a fair, effective and rapid global vaccination program.

The World Trade Organisation rules give 20-year monopoly patents for medicines, which empowers a few global corporations to determine both supply and price, but these rules were never designed for a global pandemic.

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