USITC report on IP for Covid tests and treatments: There can be no more delays

USITC report on IP for Covid tests and treatments: There can be no more delays

Release date: 17 October 2023

Responding to the publication of the US International Trade Commission’s 497 page report into intellectual property barriers for COVID-19 tests and treatments, Mohga Kamal-Yanni, policy co-lead for the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said:

“The case for addressing intellectual property barriers for COVID-19 tests and treatments was clear from the start. But the US government has delayed any decision while it compiles this almost 500-page report.

“The report acknowledges that access to intellectual property, high price, and the lack of price transparency ‘appear detrimental to access to tests and treatments.’ In 2022, the report says, high income countries consumed nearly 85.4 % of global exports and were the source of 91.8% of products including COVID-19- diagnostics and therapeutics. That is a clear indication that action is needed to address inequity.

“The US government and other rich countries must now do the right thing: approve the expansion of last year’s narrow decision on IP rules for COVID-19 vaccines to include tests and medicines. Three years have passed since developing countries first proposed for IP rules to be waived, It is time to finally help them access the tools they need to combat COVID-19.”

/ Ends


In October 2020, South Africa and India proposed a waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for medical technologies relevant to COVID-19, including vaccines, tests, and treatments. The waiver was supported by more than 100 low- and middle-income countries but was blocked by a small number of rich countries including the EU, UK, and Switzerland.

After 18 months, the WTO finally decided in June 2022 to streamline existing rights to use compulsory licenses to produce generic COVID-19 vaccines for domestic use and for export without the patent holder’s permission. The June decision required member states to reach a decision on tests and treatments by December 2022. At the last moment, WTO member states postponed the deadline, after a request for delay from the United States while it conducts an International Trade Commission review.

The USITC has now published and is available here. The US Trade Representative response is available here.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact: [email protected]