WTO to consider India’s proposal on TRIPS waiver on Covid-19 Vaccines

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is under pressure to consider the India’s proposal of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver on Covid-19 vaccines.

Key Points

  • Pressure increased on WTO after several European Union lawmakers and group of least developed countries (LDC) provided their support to India’s proposal of waiving the TRIPS on vaccines.
  • The European Commission and the European Council put forward a declaration after a group of 115 members of European Parliament asked them to drop their opposition to India’s proposal at WTO.
  • Further, a group of lawmakers from the Democratic Party is also seeking from US President Joe Biden to support the India’s proposal.
  • As of now, around 90 countries have extended their supported the TRIPS waiver proposal.
  • However, wealthy countries such as US, Britain and the European Union are against this proposal.

Why wealthy nations are opposing the proposal?

The wealthy nations are of the view that, TRIPS Waiver at WTO will choke the innovation at pharmaceutical companies. Because, it will put off their incentive in order to make huge investments for research and development. In turn, this move will be counterproductive in the current pandemic situation because it requires the drug makers to keep on researching to deal with a mutating virus.

Why does India seek TRIPS Waiver?

India put forward the proposal of TRIPS waiver at the WTO because,

  1. The TRIPS Waiver will reduce the cost of vaccines substantially.
  2. It will also make an environment for the free flow of medicines and technology transfer with other countries.

Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

The TRIPS Agreement is a multilateral agreement on intellectual property rights including the patents, copyright, protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets and industrial designs. This agreement came into effect in January 1995.

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