Ex-Heads Of State Call On German Chancellor Candidates To Waive IP Rights On Vaccines
MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 14th September, 2021) Over 140 Nobel prize laureates and former heads of state have signed a petition calling on candidates for German chancellor to act in support of a waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and to adopt such policies in a future coalition government, the Oxfam organization said on Tuesday.
The signatories noted that currently, a few vaccine producers "hold monopoly control over how much vaccine is made and where it is made," which has resulted in a shortage of doses in low-income countries, according to the letter.
"In light of this we are deeply concerned with Germany's continued opposition to a temporary waiver of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) intellectual property rules which thwart more rapid production of COVID-19 vaccines and access to technologies," the letter said.
They further urged Annalena Baerbock, Olaf Scholz, and Armin Laschet to end the German opposition to waiving patents "if elected and chosen to lead the next German Government." This step would break up vaccine monopolies, facilitate faster transfer of vaccine technology, and increase vaccine production in third countries, all of which may save millions of lives, the letter said.
Among the 140 influential people who have signed the petition are former French President Francois Hollande, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, as well as Nobel Prize winners Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Professor Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, and Elfriede Jelinek.
The initiative to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines was first proposed at the WTO in late 2020 by a group of developing countries led by India and South Africa. The proposal was initially rejected by several leading economies, including the United States.
However, in May 2021, the Joe Biden administration changed the US position and voiced its support of a vaccine IP waiver. The European Union followed suit, saying it was open to negotiations. Germany, however, remained opposed to the waiver and the talks stalled.