Support grows for IP waiver after U.S. decision
France joined the United States on Thursday in supporting an easing of patent and other protections on COVID-19 vaccines that could help poorer countries get more doses and speed the end of the pandemic.
The move to support waiving intellectual property protections on vaccines under World Trade Organization rules marked a dramatic shift for the United States — and drew cheers from activists, complaints from Big Pharma, and a lot of questions about what comes next. Washington had previously lined up with many other developed nations opposed to the idea floated by India and South Africa in October.
Attention is now turning to those richer nations, notably in the European Union — and France was the first to voice its support.
“I completely favour this opening up of the intellectual property,” French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday on a visit to a vaccine centre.
The EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said the 27-nation bloc was ready to talk about the U.S. proposal — but cagily remained non-committal for now.
“We are ready to discuss how the U.S. proposal for waiver could help” end the crisis, she said in a video address. “In the short run, however, we call upon all vaccine producing countries to allow exports and to avoid measures that disrupt supply chains.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin also said he supported the idea of a waiver on patent protections for coronavirus vaccines.