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Will the WTO Waiver of Intellectual Property Rights help or harm the COVID Response ?
The WTO TRIPS Council meets June 8 – 9 to discuss the TRIPS waiver. However, the Director-General of the WTO introduced a draft proposal to waive IP protections for COVID-19 vaccines that exist under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This proposal is not necessary because there is no global shortage of vaccines. If anything, the world may be seeing an oversupply of vaccines due to extensive investment in production, increased competition, and slowing demand. Developing new medicines is a costly, risky, and time-consuming process. Therefore, strong IP rights are key toward ensuring manufacturers are incentivized to innovate, ensure medicines are safe and effective, and have the resources to invest in the next generation of cures.
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