Canada says it's ready to discuss COVID-19 vaccine IP waiver
OTTAWA (Reuters) -Canada said on Friday it was prepared to discuss an intellectual property rights (IP) waiver for COVID-19 vaccines while also stressing the importance of protecting IP and the integral role industry played in developing the medicines.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday threw his support behind waiving IP rights for COVID-19 vaccines. Any such waiver would have to be negotiated through the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“Canada is ready to discuss proposals on a waiver for intellectual property protection, particular to COVID-19 vaccines, under the WTO Agreement on TRIPS,” said International Trade Minister Mary Ng, referring to the WTO’s agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
“Since the introduction of the IP waiver proposal, Canada has actively worked with partners to identify barriers to vaccine access — many of which are unrelated to IP, such as supply chain constraints,” she said in a statement.
Biden’s proposal angered pharmaceutical companies. Firms working on vaccines have reported sharp revenue and profit gains during the crisis.
Ng also stressed that “our government firmly believes in the importance of protecting IP and recognizes the integral role that industry has played in innovating to develop and deliver life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.”
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