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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
Russian Federation
3 IP MEASURES IN THE CONTEXT OF COVID-19
65.   In 2020 the global community faced a terrible challenge in a form of the COVID-19 pandemic that had a negative impact on social and economic development as well as healthcare systems of practically all WTO Members. As we see from the table on COVID-19 measures prepared by the Secretariat, with thanks to the Secretariat for this hard work, this disease made the governments of many countries reconsider their policies in the sphere of IP protection in order to facilitate access and encourage innovative activity. 66.   During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of the Russian Federation facilitated the procedures of the registration of patents by putting the main part of this process online and shortening the period for consideration of application for IP protection. We considered this approach to be an efficient way to facilitate access to essential goods that are important to optimize healthcare capacities and reduce the rate of infection spread. 67.   As of February 2021, the Russian patent system protects more than 160 patents for technologies aimed at combating COVID-19, including vaccines, diagnostic test systems, technologies for disinfection of air and objects and many other inventions. 68.   The health crisis caused by the pandemic forced the government of the Russian Federation to introduce a new urgent measure and use the possibilities under the TRIPS Agreement. The Government of the Russian Federation issued the Order allowing for the temporary use of patents for Remdesivir without permission of the right holder until the end of 2021. This measure was focused on the prompt provision of the population of the Russian Federation with the necessary amount of medicines to unlock healthcare system capacities. From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian Federation accounts for 4,280,000 coronavirus cases, 3,880,000 people recovered and 87,000 lethal cases. 69.   To carry out the hard work of treatment for the population, a strategy of the Russian healthcare system was made on the earliest possible access to vaccines. New digital procedures of the Russian IP office were used for timely registration of patents for new vaccines. Currently, the Russian patent system provides protection for 12 patents for COVID-19 vaccines, their active substances and components. Five of them were registered at the request of the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology as their first in the world coronavirus vaccine known as "Sputnik V". The Russian Direct Investment Fund financed the development and manufacturing of this vaccine and played the key role to its distribution. The accessibility and safety of the vaccine were the priorities. Sputnik V shows its efficiency in more than 90% cases and its targeted price is less than USD 10 per dose. 70.   As of today, Sputnik V was approved for use in 46 countries in practically all regions of the world (Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe). Actually, the vaccine is under the WHO emergency use evaluation process. And we hope it will soon allow the use of Sputnik V in all the WHO cooperation programmes. 71.   In order to scale the production of the vaccine and make Sputnik V available for as many people as possible, the Russian Direct Investment Fund concludes licensing agreements for local production. Currently, there are such agreements with eight countries around the world. 72.   The developers of Sputnik V initiated consultations with some other manufacturers of vaccines for discovering opportunities to use the combinations of their products. So new inventions will create future ones for the commonwealth. 73.   In conclusion, we emphasize that the pandemic crisis has forced the governments to introduce new solutions. Most measures have been taken to make IP systems more efficient and faster. Digitalization on a large scale has been introduced. Deep attention has been paid to increase the level of knowledge about existing inventions. We see a great need for the dissemination of new knowledge and sharing IP to combat the pandemic on a global scale. We believe that the open and comprehensive cooperation of all interested parties can make it possible. The Russian Federation is always ready for any cooperation with all the WTO Members and international organizations to combat this COVID-19 crisis.
15. The Chair recalled that this agenda item had been discussed in the Council since its informal open-ended meeting on 19 June 2020 and had been on the Council's agenda at its formal meetings since then. In light of broad support for a continuation of these exchanges at the preceding meetings, the item was on the agenda to facilitate exchange of views on measures undertaken as the pandemic persists.
16. As one basis for the Council's exchange, she referred to the compilation "COVID-19: Measures Regarding Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights" that was available from the WTO website and contained a non-exhaustive list of IP-related measures taken in the context of COVID-19, compiled by the Secretariat from official sources and verified by the Members concerned. This list was updated continuously, even if the rate at which new measures are brought to our attention had slowed considerably since the last meeting. She encouraged Members to inform the Secretariat of any measures that should be included on this list, as well as any update or information on the expiry, or end of application, of such measures. She invited Members to inform the Council on their measures.
17. The representatives of Chile; Canada; the European Union; Ecuador; South Africa; China; the Russian Federation; and Indonesia took the floor.
18. The Chair proposed that, in view of the continued interest on this agenda item, the Council agree to revert to the item at its next meeting, so that the exchanges can once again take place, including on the basis of the updated Secretariat document of COVID-19 related IP measures.
19. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to this item at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/98, IP/C/M/98/Add.1