Biden urged not to accept proposal on Covid by India and South Africa at WTO

In the letter, Senators Mike Lee, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst and Todd Young urge Biden to reject the upcoming proposal at the WTO

Biden urged not to accept proposal on Covid by India and South Africa at WTO

Joe Biden. AP/PTI file

Washington, March 6

Four top Republican Senators on Friday urged US President Joe Biden not to accept a proposal by India and South Africa to the World Trade Organisation to waive anti-Covid vaccine patents to boost its supply.

“India, South Africa and other countries are presenting a proposal at the World Trade Organisation to waive all intellectual property rights for any innovation related to Covid,” the group of four Republican Senators wrote in a letter to Biden.

“The proponents of this scheme argue that if we just destroy the intellectual property developed by American companies, we will suddenly have more manufacturers producing Covid vaccines,” they said.

In the letter, Senators Mike Lee, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst and Todd Young urged Biden to reject the upcoming proposal at the WTO.

“But the opposite is true. By destroying the intellectual property of every American company that has worked on Covid vaccines and treatments, we would be ending the progress -- started under Operation Warp Speed -- that led to the fastest development of life-saving vaccines in history,” the Senators wrote.

They alleged that some countries believed that they would benefit from seizing America’s intellectual property.

“But this is a mistake,” they said.

“Waiving all rights to intellectual property would end the innovation pipeline and stop the development of new vaccines or boosters to address variants in the virus. It also wouldn’t increase the supply of vaccines because of the tremendous time and resources needed to build new manufacturing plants and acquire the knowhow to produce these complex medicines,” they said.

“Even if the waiver may temporarily result in a few copycats attempting to produce what American companies developed, it would introduce major quality control problems,” the Senators said.

“As a global leader and a force for good, we can do a lot to help other countries overcome the virus. But destroying our rights to intellectual property wouldn’t advance our mission of fighting the virus -- it would make the problem worse, for America and for the world,” they wrote. PTI

       

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