Members of the European Parliament have backed a joint proposal by India and South Africa for waiver on intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccine patents.
In a letter addressed to the European Union leadership dated Wednesday, 14 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for a moratorium on the suspension of Covid-19 vaccine patents.
The letter was sent by the following MEPs: Andrea Cozzolino, Maria Arena, Eva Kaili, Alex Agius Saliba, Boguslaw Liberadzki, Tiemo Woelken, Milan Brglez, Patrizia Toia, Irene Tinagli, Pierfrancesco Majorino, Pina Picierno, Giuliano Pisapia, Massimiliano Smeriglio, Franco Roberti
The MEPs' said, "South Africa and India sent a joint proposal to the World Trade Organization requesting an exemption from patents and other intellectual property rights concerning drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, personal protective equipment, and other medical technologies throughout the pandemic and this proposal is still pending."
They added: "We ask the European Union to evaluate to support the adoption of a moratorium that allows the suspension of patents and the sharing of technology, data, know-how, allowing generics manufacturers to contribute to increasing global availability, including through support for India and South Africa's proposal at the WTO."
In October last year, India and South Africa jointly submitted a communication at The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) that was titled 'Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement for the prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19'.
The proposal requests a waiver to be granted to WTO members so that they do not have to implement, apply or enforce certain obligations related to COVID-19 products and technologies.
"In these exceptional circumstances, we request that the Council for TRIPS recommends, as early as possible, to the General Council a waiver from the implementation, application and enforcement of Sections 1, 4, 5, and 7 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19," it added.
The MEPs further called on the EU to "evaluate, as a member of the WTO, subject to an appropriate legislative act, the granting of a compulsory license for the production of covid 19 vaccines to public agencies or a generic drug manufacturer, according to TRIPS and the Doha Declaration."