EFPIA and Vaccines Europe are deeply disappointed about the decision taken by World Trade Organization (WTO) at the Ministerial Conference (MC12) to endorse a TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

Speaking about the waiver, EFPIA Director General, Nathalie Moll said. “The decision is a serious retrograde step in our collective ability to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and future global health threats. The last two years have underlined that the only effective response to pandemics is grounded in research, development and innovation. That ability to respond is built on having a solid IP framework.” 

The decision at MC12 sends a dangerous signal not only to the pharmaceutical industry but to all innovative sectors. Dismantling the very framework that has brought solutions to tackle COVID-19 and facilitated the unprecedented number of partnerships, voluntary licensing, and knowledge-sharing taking place during this pandemic in record breaking time, can have ripple effects for the future. 

The TRIPS waiver attempts to solve the wrong problem with the wrong solution. IP has supported the fastest development and scale-up of safe and effective vaccines in history, with 13.9 billion COVID-19 vaccines produced to date. The IP framework has provided the basis for more than 380 voluntary partnerships for the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to be set up in record time, 88% of which involve technology transfer. Ms Moll went on to say. “It is not our ability to manufacture doses that stands in the way of vaccine equity but the capacity and infrastructure to deliver vaccination programmes around the world and at times, trade barriers. Those are the issues that would need to be addressed by the international community, rather than removing a key driver for innovators to discover, develop and deliver solutions for this, and future pandemics.”