Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
94.   As visible from various interventions, a number of country Members, both developed and developing, have adopted measures to enable governments to overcome IP barriers in case they constrain access to the goods required for handling the COVID-19 pandemic. 95.   The rising incidence of COVID-19 requires all countries, particularly developing and least developed countries which are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, to be able to procure and/or manufacture products required for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Intellectual property rights over such products can constrain countries' ability to rapidly procure, produce and supply such goods at the required scale at affordable prices. 96.   The COVID-19 crisis is a powerful reminder of our inter-connectedness, and the need for a coordinated, global strategy to overcome this unprecedented global public health crisis. No country is reliably insulated from this highly contagious virus, as long as it persists anywhere in the world. While the disease has no preventive vaccines at the moment, more than 100 candidate vaccines are in various stages of development. Similarly, many medicines are being tried for treating this disease. Though a safe and effective vaccine may still be few months away, countries are already competing to lock in assured access, which may drive up prices and crowd out others who may find it difficult to access it at affordable prices. 97.   WTO Members need to work together in the TRIPS Council to ensure that IP rights do not block access to critical technology required for rapid scaling up and augmenting the manufacturing capacity for medicines, vaccines, equipment and treatments required for an effective response to COVID-19. In this regard, we also support the suggestion by the ACP Group for a workshop on IP and COVID-19.
The Council took note of the statements made.
15.   The Chair said that the item had been put on the agenda at the request of South Africa, referring to the document "COVID-19: Measures Regarding Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights", which was available from the WTO website and contained a non-exhaustive list of IP-related measures taken in the context of COVID-19. The list compiled by the Secretariat from official sources and verified by the Members concerned. It was updated continuously, and the latest version was always available on the WTO website. She invited South Africa to introduce the item.
16.   The representative of South Africa took the floor to introduce the item.
17.   The representatives of Nigeria; Brazil; China; Chile; India; El Salvador; the Russian Federation; Indonesia; Ecuador; the United States of America; the European Union; Australia; and Switzerland took the floor.
18.   The Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/95, IP/C/M/95/Add.1