The Observatory for Transparency in Medicines Policies (OTMeds) calls on the 2022 presidential election candidates to position themselves in favor of the « patent/TRIPS waiver » to allow access to COVID-19 vaccines everywhere and to make it a priority in their public positions. The blocking by France and by the European Commission has lasted too long. It puts us all in danger across the world.
The « TRIPS waiver » refers in the current debate to the request filed by India and South Africa in October 2020 with the World Trade Organization (WTO) for a waiver of the intellectual property rights of the TRIPS agreement, as this WTO/TRIPS agreement allows, to allow a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights on technologies developed on COVID-19 and allow their production everywhere. According to a report by researchers from AccessIBSA and Médecins sans frontières (MSF), more than 100 producers around the world are now ready to produce these mRNA vaccines. With a technology transfer, possible thanks to the contracts signed, these producers could meet the needs of the populations.
With less than 50% of the world population having received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, while the countries of the North are in the 3rd and 4th doses, the voluntary initiatives including COVAX have proved to be failures. 74% of all vaccines provided this year went to High Income Countries (HICs) and Upper Middle Income Countries (UMICs) while less than 1% of them went to low income countries. The situation cannot go on any longer.
Prime Minister Jean Castex estimated on Friday that « it is not admissible that the refusal of a few million French people to be vaccinated endangers the life of an entire country and affects the daily life of a vast majority of French people who has shown responsibility since the onset of this crisis. » It is also unacceptable that the refusal of a few governments including Emmanuel Macron and Jean Castex to allow the countries of the South to produce vaccines endangering the life of an entire country and of many populations around the world. Because today Moderna and Pfizer are the only beneficiaries of this situation. No one will emerge from the pandemic without broad access to the scarce tools we have against COVID-19.
For all these reasons, OTMeds call on the 2022 presidential candidates* to position themselves in favor of this measure or to reiterate their support for it, and to make it a priority in their statements in the media. Access to one of the rare tools to get out of the crisis and hope for a « return to normal » must be an absolute priority for any candidate wishing to be elected President of the Republic in France.
*these candidates include : Emmanuel Macron, Valérie Pécresse, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Yannick Jadot, Anne Hidalgo, Christina Taubira, Fabien Roussel, Philippe Poutou