The United States said on Wednesday it would support Patent protection Vaccines, though Catherine Tye, chief trade officer, warned that negotiations will take time. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have already indicated in US support news that they do not support the proposal at all. Their shares also fell at the end of trading on Wednesday.
“The European Union is ready to discuss any proposal that addresses the crisis effectively and realistically,” said von der Leyen in a speech at the European University Institute in Florence. According to the head of the European Union’s executive body, vaccination efforts have accelerated in the Union, with 30 European vaccines per second, while more than 200 million doses of vaccines are being exported to the rest of the world.
“Therefore, we are ready to discuss how the American proposal to waive the protection of intellectual property rights for vaccines can help achieve this goal,” he said. Reuters.
In October, South Africa and India submitted the original proposal for a vaccine exemption to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which was supported by a number of developing countries, which saw it as a vital step in making vaccines more widely available. The World Health Organization said in April that only 0.2 percent of the 700 million vaccines administered worldwide were given in low-income countries.
The European Union has so far opposed the exemption along with a host of countries, many of which are home to large pharmaceutical companies, including Britain and Switzerland. They argue that this would undermine the work of companies that produced vaccines in record time to do so in the event of a pandemic in the future. It has also been argued that waiving the patent will not solve the problem immediately as there is not enough production capacity. Additionally, vaccine production is complex, as evidenced by AstraZeneca’s manufacturing problems and will require transfer of technology, knowledge, and personnel.
In the short term, von der Leyen said, the European Union has called on all vaccine-producing countries to allow exports and avoid measures that disrupt supply chains.