Patent Exemption for COVID-19 Vaccines at WTO

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Recently, India has sought patent exemption for the Covid-19 vaccine in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

India will lead the demands for exemption of intellectual property rights for the manufacture and supply of the Kovid-19 vaccine in the upcoming WTO meeting.

This patent exemption has been sought by India and South Africa subject to certain conditions of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

The talks have been hampered by opposition from some developed countries.

Factors responsible for seeking exemption from Intellectual Property Rights:

Especially to meet the growing demand due to the concerns related to the new COVID variant.

Concentration of Resources:

Vaccine manufacturing and all R&D activities on it are highly concentrated in a small group of countries.

Ethical Approach:

Vaccines should be a common commodity and action should stem from the notion that ‘no one is safe until we are all safe’.

Concerns of developed countries related to exemption of intellectual property rights:

  • Such exemptions would stifle innovation, as the intellectual property system needs to encourage new inventions of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. In the absence of incentives, these innovations may be discouraged.
  • Similar access can also be achieved through other means such as compulsory licensing, technology transfer arrangements and donor-funded COVAX Advance Market Commitment for Vaccines.

About Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

They are the rights given to individuals over the creativity of their mind, i.e. invention, literary and artistic work. They give the creator/creator an exclusive right to use their creativity for a specified period of time.

About Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS):

It is an agreement on International Intellectual Property Rights. It sets minimum standards for the availability, scope and use of seven types of intellectual property rights.

Source – The Hindu

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