EU and Africa dispute patent vaccine

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As the coronavirus pandemic is now in its second year, the growing inequality between vaccines remains a major stumbling block in the fight against covid-19. However, the European Union thinks differently.

On Monday, the EU stood firm in its refusal to lift patent protection for covid-19 vaccines, just days before a summit with countries in the African Union that see the issue as a priority.

Since October 2020, India and South Africa have been calling on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily remove intellectual property rights for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics in the fight against covid-19.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

The members of the African Union have pushed for the demand to be included in the conclusions of the joint EU-AU summit, which starts on Thursday in Brussels.

“The African Union.

But several rich countries that host large pharmaceutical companies have opposed the move, saying that patents are not the main barriers to scaling up production and are crucial to innovation.

“We believe that intellectual property rights should never be a brake (for vaccine production),” said Franck Riester, France’s trade minister, who currently holds the EU rotating presidency.

“At the same time, we do not want to question an intellectual property system that enables innovation and that has made it possible, in particular, to get vaccinated very quickly in the case of covid-19,” he added.

Riester spoke after holding talks with his EU colleagues on the issue in the French city of Marseille, in which WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also participated.

Okonjo-Iweala in January said that a WTO agreement to ease restrictions on vaccine production was weeks away, possibly in time for the EU-AU summit.

But on Monday, ministers said they were hoping for a WTO agreement in June at the earliest.

Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, whose country is home to several major drug groups, said it was “very important that we are willing to make compromises and that we are willing to ensure that vaccines are available in all parts of the world.”

“But what we want to avoid is that this pandemic is used in a way by some countries to undermine innovation or undermine intellectual property rights,” he added.

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