Parliament’s vital vote to waive Covid-19 vaccine patents
After months of shameful right-wing stalling and delaying tactics, the European Parliament approved a resolution to tackle the AIDS epidemic which includes a Left demand for waiving intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines.
The proposal championed by Left MEPs also demands the waiving of intellectual property rights for equipment and other treatments, urging pharmaceutical companies to share their knowledge and data through the World Health Organization COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).
“After months of intense campaigning, the Left group in the European Parliament has won a decisive victory in the global fight to remove patents’ barriers and make vaccines a common good,” said the Left’s Co-President Manon Aubry.
“Thanks to our amendment, the European Parliament now officially supports the TRIPS waiver. Parliament is sending a clear message to the Council and the Commission who’ve been persistently opposing India and South Africa’s proposal in the WTO. It is now time for them to stop defending Big Pharma profits above people’s lives. Inaction kills and the world is watching us,” Aubry added.
Co-President Martin Schirdewan demanded that the EU fast-track the patents’ waiver in international forums:
“The big groups bent over backwards to block the European Parliament Parliament from taking a position in support of waiving patents ahead of the G20 Health Ministers’ meeting and the WTO TRIPS Council meeting next month. They have lost. The Parliament has expressed clearly that they expect the EU to join the rest of the world in supporting the waiver of intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.
“From the start of the pandemic, the Left has been a leading voice demanding that Covid-19 vaccines and treatments are made a public good. The approval of this resolution, which expresses the will of the Parliament, is the culmination of impressive grassroots mobilisations all across Europe – in solidarity with the Global South – where the Left played a major role. It sends a clear message to the EU that people’s lives must come before the profits of multinationals. Each day access to vaccines is delayed, 9,946 lives are lost. Inaction kills. President Von der Leye, we are watching.”
Last month, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), the centre-left (S&D) and the liberals (Renew Europe) voted to reject the TRIPS agreement waiver.
Days later, US President Biden announced America’s support for patents’ suspension, making the EU the main blocker of this vital measure to beat the pandemic.
Germany, home to BioNTech, which has a vaccine supply contract worth billions of euros with the EU, is said to be among those stalling progress.
Last week right-wingers and liberals in the European Parliament delayed the vote on a resolution on TRIPS waiver, to stall progress at a crucial upcoming WTO meeting.