Lower-income countries propose WTO text to ensure access to Covid treatments and tests

Lower-income countries propose WTO text to ensure access to Covid treatments and tests

Release date:8 December 2022.

Responding to a proposed World Trade Organization (WTO) text from low and middle-income countries to address intellectual property barriers for COVID-19 treatments and tests, Piotr Kolczyński, EU policy advisor to Oxfam and the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said:

 “This proposal from lower-income countries sends a clear message; they need the WTO to act to ensure they have access to Covid-19 tests and treatments. 

 “The deal agreed in June was not a waiver of intellectual property rules. It was a minor addition to existing rules that are supposed to help support the production of generics.

“Civil society groups warned at the time that the parameters of the agreement would only be useful for manufacturing treatments and tests, not vaccines. But a decision on these lifesaving interventions was deferred for six months. And now the US wants more delays still.

 “All lower-income countries ask is that treatments and tests be brought into that deal. It is a small change that would make sure the WTO decision has a real impact. That should not require months of negotiations.”


Notes to editors

This is a reaction to a proposal tabled my low and middle-income countries at the WTO’s Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) council: https://docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/SS/directdoc.aspx?filename=q:/IP/C/W694.pdf&Open=True

In June, the WTO reached a deal on COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property and pledged to make a decision on COVID-19 treatments and tests within 6 months. The deadline, 17 December, is next week.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance and Oxfam reaction to the WTO deal reached in June is available here: https://peoplesmedicines.org/resources/media-releases/wto-reaction-2022/

The United States this week asked to extend the deadline for an agreement on COVID-19 treatments and tests: https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2022/december/us-support-extension-deadline-wto-trips-ministerial-decision-requests-usitc-investigation-provide-0

The People’s Vaccine Alliance called it “pathetic” to delay taking action just as the deadline approaches: https://peoplesmedicines.org/resources/media-releases/pathetic-for-the-us-to-kick-wto-covid-test-and-treatment-deal-into-the-long-grass-campaigners-say/

Media contact

Joe Karp-Sawey, senior media advisor, People’s Vaccine Alliance

[email protected]