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

53.   Let me join the delegation Sri Lanka in thanking the Secretariat for the useful presentation on various dynamics around the COVID-19 pandemic, including various projections, reference to the UNICEF COVID platform, Airfinity, and so forth. Perhaps, I think it is good to emphasize, that the information is tentative and not necessarily verified. 54.   However, just one very small comment that my delegation would like to make, and that is just to observe that in 2020 only 4% of projected vaccine production was delivered, and as of now we have projections, that range from between 9.5 billion to about 15 billion. As indicated also in this context, it is important to recall some of the discussions that were had, specifically, in respect of documents that were prepared by manufacturers themselves in March, where it is stated that these manufacturers would be able to supply up to 14 billion doses during the current calendar year. Chair, you know we were able to see other projections, ranging up to ten billion. Nonetheless, if we really look at the baseline as of 17 May, it is reported that at one point, seven billion doses would have been produced. Now this is way below the projected figure for the end of the year. We are already six months into this year and the level of doses that have been produced and distributed lags far behind the projections that are seen in these documents. 55.   Moreover, we have said on many occasions that the distribution and administration of vaccines remains inequitable, and we see that more than 75% of all vaccines have been administered in only about ten countries. This remains one of the biggest problems that we face in the in the current situation. And if we look at some of the COVID dashboards, we see that even COVAX has only managed to deliver 72 million doses to-date, which is 3.6% of the two billion doses it was supposed to deliver in 2021. So, given all these particular factors here, I think we need to apply a good dose of reality when we look at these production figures.
14. 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 the broad support for a continuation of these exchanges at the preceding meetings, the item was once again on the agenda to facilitate exchange of views on measures undertaken as the pandemic persists.
15. As one basis for the Council's exchange, he 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. He 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. He invited Members to inform the Council on their measures.
16. He suggested that, on this occasion, this item also be used to hear from the Secretariat regarding other information it had been asked to compile. He recalled that in earlier meetings of the Council, and in the General Council, a number of Members had asked the Secretariat to provide and compile data on the number of voluntary license agreements regarding COVID-19 vaccine production over time, and on the projected and observed volume of vaccine dose production under these agreements. Given that this request also related to information compiled by the Secretariat the Chair suggested that this be dealt with under this item. It was his understanding that the Secretariat had circulated an initial set of data in a room document RD/IP/43 and would be ready to provide a short introduction to this document.
17. The representatives of Chile; the United States; and China took the floor.
18. The Secretariat took the floor to present documents RD/IP/43 and RD/IP/44.
19. The representatives of Sri Lanka and South Africa took the floor.
20. The Chair thanked the Secretariat for the information presented and said that an update of such information would be appreciated and would contribute to the deliberations of the Council.
21. 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.
22. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to this item at its next meeting.