Ahead of the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference next week, the European Parliament has again added its voice to a growing consensus in support of a TRIPS Waiver for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.

MEPs have voted on the details of a resolution setting out their expectations for the meeting of the WTO’s highest decision-making body – the first in four years – calling on the EU to support the granting of a TRIPS Waiver “to enhance timely global access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics by addressing global production constraints and supply shortages.”

The resolution will be voted in its entirety tomorrow morning.

The pandemic is top on the agenda of the meeting in Geneva from 30 November to 3 December, in particular, a proposal by India and South Africa to ease intellectual property barriers that restrict access to COVID-19 vaccines & treatments.

The EU is isolated in opposing the proposal in order to protect the profits of its pharmaceutical industry despite strong popular support across Europe and Commission President von der Leyen’s promise – now backtracked –  of a Covid-19 vaccine that is a “global public good”.

With only 0.6% vaccine doses administered in low-income countries, and rich countries accused of hoarding vaccines, there is no end in sight for the pandemic unless the EU changes tact.

“Saving lives, not the profits of Big Pharma, should be the priority,” Left MEP Helmut Scholz (DIE LINKE, Germany) said in reaction to the vote.

“The introduction of new Covid-19 restrictions in Europe is a stark reminder that no one is safe until everyone is safe.

“Is the EU serious about fighting the pandemic globally, faced with the reality of cross-border infections and the emergence of new variants?

“Today’s vote of the European Parliament emphasized it once again: We need a TRIPS Waiver to effectively fight the pandemic,” Scholz concluded.

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