More than 150 US lawmakers write a letter to President Joe Biden urge him to support India’s proposal to the WTO to temporarily lift the intellectual property barriers and allow countries to locally manufacture COVID 19 diagnostics and vaccines. But Biden administration has not made a decision on the issue yet. The proposal by India and South Africa will be a focus at the World Trade Organisations meet on May 5. In the letter dated April 30 the lawmakers said that from a global public health, this waiver is vital to ensuring sufficient volume of and equitable access to COVID 19 vaccines and therapeutics around the world.
The TRIPS waiver is essential to ensure all global economic including the US economy, can recover from the pandemic and thrive. Among otherwise the letter has been signed by Congresswoman Karen Bass, Chair of House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee and Indian Americans and Raja Krishnamurthy. The TRIPS allows countries to negotiate compulsory licenses a flexibility that was reaffirmed in the Doha Declaration. However compulsory licenses must be negotiated by each WTO member country and for each patent or other protection applying each individual product. The temporary TRIPS waiver would allow countries and manufacturers to directly access and share technologies to produce vaccines and therapeutics without causing trade sanctions or international disputes they wrote.