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Commission dithers over vaccine patents as inaction continues to kill

The time for TRIPS Waiver is now. The Left group in the European Parliament has been asking the European Commission to support the waiver of Covid-19 patents for months. Now that the Biden administration has declared its support, Von der Leyen cannot hold back.

“President Biden’s decision to support the TRIPS waiver at the WTO is a game-changer. The European Union is now the last place in the world to protect big pharmas’ profits over public health. Von der Leyen had to concede this morning she was ‘ready to discuss’ but this is not enough. Too much time has already been lost: we want immediate action!” Left Co-President Manon Aubry said.

Covid-19 vaccines and treatments must be a global common good. This is an essential step to ramp up vaccine production and put human lives before profits.

The EU and the US were the main obstacles for waiving the WTO Intellectual Property Agreement (TRIPS) following proposals by India and South Africa. With President Biden’s reversal, the EU has embarrassingly become the main blocker for this to happen.

Last week, the European Parliament rejected a proposal from the Left to back India and South Africa’s proposal for TRIPS waiver. For the next plenary in May The Left is requesting once again a discussion and vote to support the waiver, hoping that the other groups, such as EPP, ECR and Renew, will now stop blocking it.

For Co-President Martin Schirdewan, the EU has lost an opportunity to take leadership in the fight against the pandemic:

“Last year, we heard with much fanfare from President von der Leyen that a Covid-19 vaccine would be a global public good. Exactly a year later, the EU is now the world’s main obstacle to this very same commitment. The gap between words and actions by the EU has never been so glaring. The EU could have been a world leader in fighting the pandemic but it has missed the opportunity. We must now follow President Biden’s decision and support the lifting of vaccine patents before new variants turn our progress in vaccination ineffective. No one is safe until everyone is safe!”

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